Braves to call up Jose Bautista tonight

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves are expected to call up Jose Bautista before tonight’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

Bautista signed a minor league deal with the Braves last month and, though he started slow in the minors, has begun to heat up a bit in recent days. An old man needs his reps, right? Bautista, originally a third baseman but a long time corner outfielder, will return to third base duties for Atlanta. Should be interesting to watch at least.

 

After breaking out as a major star for the Blue Jays between 2010 to 2015, Bautista struggled last year, hitting just .203 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI. The Braves are hoping there is still something left in the tank, though, as their third base situation is a bit less-than-settled in 2018.

Ryan Flaherty has handled most of the third base duties this year, hitting .310/.406/.437 with two home runs, nine RBI and three stolen bases, but that is WAY WAY above his usual level of production and it’d be unreasonable to expect him to keep that up for the next five months. Charlie Culberson has also featured in the mix, but he’s really a utility guy at best. Same with Johan Camargo who, while primarily a third baseman last year, has played far more shortstop in the minors and is currently filling in for the slightly banged up Dansby Swanson.

The Braves have open space on the 40-man roster, so when they select Bautista’s contract they won’t need to make room there, but they will have to make room on the 25-man roster. It remains to be seen who will be moved to make room.

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.