Cubs’, Reds’ benches clear at Great American Ball Park

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Things got a little spicy during the Cubs-Reds game on Saturday after Cincinnati reliever Amir Garrett induced a swinging strikeout from Javier Baez in the seventh inning. Baez worked a 2-2 count against the southpaw, then whiffed on an 84-MPH slider to end the inning. Apparently Garrett looked too happy about the strikeout — his first of the afternoon — and the two exchanged heated words as the benches cleared around them.

It’s not clear exactly what was said to elicit an emotional outburst from Baez, but the kerfuffle died down after several minutes. While both sides received a warning, nothing escalated beyond the verbal confrontation and no ejections were issued.

The altercation also signaled the end of Garrett’s outing, as he was swiftly replaced by right-hander Raisel Iglesias to begin the eighth inning. The Reds led the Cubs 4-2 at the time of the brawl, then relinquished their lead following Ian Happ‘s leadoff home run and Anthony Rizzo‘s RBI double in the eighth. They remain tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 11th.

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.