Mariners sign pitcher Yusei Kikuchi

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Jon Heyman reports that the Seattle Mariners have signed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi. He had been posted by his NPB team, the Seibu Lions. The deadline for him to have signed with a U.S. team was tomorrow.

Heyman says it’s a three-year contract with a player option for 2022, with the option possibly being replaced with an additional four-year guarantee. At the moment he will reportedly make $43 million over those three years.

Kikuchi has a 73-46 career record with a 2.77 ERA in NPB, going 14-4 with a 3.08 ERA this year while striking out 153 batters in 163 and two-thirds innings. The year before that he went 16-6 with a 1.97 ERA while striking out 217 batters and walking only 49 in his 187 and two-thirds.

Kikuchi is a fastball-slider pitcher some have compared to Patrick Corbin. He’s generally viewed by major league scouts as a potential mid-rotation starter.

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.