Eric Thames to miss 6-8 weeks following thumb surgery

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Brewers infielder/outfielder underwent a successful procedure to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb, the club announced Friday. He’s projected to miss six to eight weeks in recovery.

Thames suffered the injury while making a defensive play during Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Royals. He was able to suit up for Wednesday’s game, but was prematurely pulled prior to the bottom of the ninth inning with some health concerns and consulted with a hand specialist after the game. This looks to be 31-year-old’s first significant setback during his major league career, albeit not one that will be season-ending — assuming, of course, that everything goes according to plan.

Without Thames, the Brewers are expected to utilize some combination of Ryan Braun and Jesus Aguilar at first base, though a more permanent replacement (if ay exists) has yet to be revealed. Braun covered for Thames on Thursday, collecting a single and a double in the 1-0 loss to the Cubs. Aguilar had his turn on Friday and went 0-for-2 with a sac fly as the Brewers dropped their second straight game, 3-2.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.