Pierce Johnson to pitch for Hanshin Tigers

Pierce Johnson
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Right-handed reliever Pierce Johnson has signed a contract with the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball, the pitcher announced Saturday. Johnson cleared waivers in November and elected free agency after completing a one-year run in San Francisco.

The 27-year-old righty was initially selected by the Cubs in the first round of the 2012 draft and worked his way up to the majors before getting claimed off of waivers by the Giants in 2017. He made his sophomore debut at the start of the 2018 season and acquired an ungainly 5.56 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, and 7.4 SO/9 through 43 2/3 innings with the club. Altogether, he’s compiled just 44 2/3 major-league innings across two seasons in Chicago and San Francisco, and will seek to improve on disappointing totals when he switches over to Japan’s premier baseball league in 2019.

The details of Johnson’s contract with the Tigers has yet to be announced, nor is it clear whether or not he plans to make an eventual return to MLB. Former major leaguers to make recent appearances for the Tigers include right-handers Diego Moreno and Rafael Dolis and first baseman Efren Navarro.

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.