Report: Nationals checked in with the Marlins about J.T. Realmuto recently

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In his latest notes column, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Nationals checked in with the Marlins a couple weeks ago about catcher J.T. Realmuto. The two sides didn’t get anywhere, as the Marlins are reportedly looking for a “haul” and the Nats don’t want to pay that high of a price for a catching upgrade.

Realmuto, 27, is having a great season, batting .311/.376/.534 with six home runs and 19 RBI for the last-place Marlins. He’s earning $2.9 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration in his second of three years after the season. That means an acquiring team would have at least two more years of control of Realmuto after 2018.

Matt Wieters recently went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, so catching duties have been handled by Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom. Neither has performed well, so the club could certainly use an upgrade.

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.