Trevor Bauer: legalize pine tar and other sticky substances for pitchers

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Yesterday Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer created a bit of an uproar when he tweeted about spin rates and the Astros with the strong implication that the Astros’ pitchers were using pine tar to get a better grip and, in turn, increase those spin rates. More broadly he called out Major League Baseball for its lax and uneven enforcement of the rules against pitchers using foreign substances which, in turn he argued, created an unfair competitive environment.

The chatter about all of that continues into today. In response, Bauer released a more thorough statement a little while ago:

It’s true that many if not most of the pitchers in baseball use foreign substances. And it’s true that Major League Baseball turns a blind eye to most foreign substance use, resulting in weird “gotcha” enforcement when someone is being too obvious about it or allowing one team to engage in gamesmanship by making a complaint about what, in large part is an open secret.

People gave Bauer a lot of grief yesterday for the manner in which he raised the topic — calling out one team and being kind of obnoxious in response to people pushing back — but it’s hard to take issue with what he has to say here. Think of it as Bad messenger, decent message situation.

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.