Report: MLB believes the Anthony Rizzo slide was illegal

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As Bill wrote last night, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has taken heat for his slide into Pirates catcher Elias Diaz in the eighth inning of yesterday’s Cubs-Pirates game. Specifically, the heat was over the fact that, even though Rizzo was forced out at home well before he began his slide, he still deviated from his path in order to take out Diaz’s legs.

This appeared to be a pretty obvious violation of Rule 6.01(i), but the umpires and the replay officials somehow ruled it a clean slide. Jesse Rogers of ESPN reports this afternoon, however, that Major League Baseball feels differently about it:

Breaking: Source indicates the league believes interference should have been called yesterday re Anthony Rizzo’s 8th inning slide at home plate. Both teams have been informed of that decision which differs from the call on the field and the umpires video review.

I suspect that the reason MLB made a point to inform both teams about it is to limit the possibility of the Pirates retaliating against Rizzo or other Cubs batters. Whether that effectively ends things will not be known until tonight’s game.

UPDATE: You will not be surprised to learn that Rizzo does not agree with that assessment, saying that he was “just trying to break up the double play” and that he had no intention of hurting anyone. He added a few “it is what it ises.”

Which is exactly what you’d expect him to say. The stuff about his intent is sort of beside the point, however. The idea of the new slide rules is to take intent out of it for the most part. You have a lane to slide in. If you can’t do what you’re trying to do while staying in your line, you broke the rules. It is, as Rizzo says, what it is.

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.