James Paxton records 16 strikeouts over seven shutout innings vs. Athletics

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One day after Justin Verlander matched the 2018 season high with 14 strikeouts, Mariners starter James Paxton surpassed it. The hard-throwing lefty punched out 16 batters across seven shutout frames against the Athletics on Wednesday night. Paxton yielded just five hits and a walk on 105 pitches.

Paxton’s 16 are the most strikeouts in a game since the Rockies’ Jon Gray on September 17, 2016 against the Padres. Danny Duffy, Max Scherzer, and Vince Velasquez also struck out 16 that year. The feat has only been accomplished 11 times since the start of the 2011 season.

Paxton didn’t come into Wednesday’s start with the best stats. In six starts, he carried a 5.12 ERA with a 44/15 K/BB ratio in 31 2/3 innings. His ERA is now down to 4.19.

Juan Nicasio took over for Paxton in the eighth inning with a 2-0 lead. He promptly gave up a game-tying two-run home run to Jed Lowrie, taking the W away from Paxton.

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.