Union: Dead time in free-agent market ‘threat to our game’

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NEW YORK (AP) The head of the baseball players’ association expressed concern over a second straight offseason that has seen Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and many other free agents remain without deals less than a month before spring training.

Union head Tony Clark tells The Associated Press “all the dead time in the last two free-agent markets is a larger threat to our game than any supposed dead time between pitches.”

Wanting to increase the pace of games and concerned about a drop in offense, management has made proposals to the union that include a pitch clock and rules changes. The players’ association says it will respond, and unlike last year the union appears open to discuss the issues.

Against this backdrop, just 58 of the 164 players who exercised the right to become free agents following the World Series had announced deals through Thursday afternoon. That is up from 45 of 166 on the same date last offseason, but this year’s free-agent class contains far more accomplished players. Those still available included Harper, Machado, pitcher Dallas Keuchel and closer Craig Kimbrel.

Major League Baseball declined to respond to Clark, spokesman Pat Courtney said.

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.