Red Sox pad bullpen with Dan Runzler, Brian Ellington

Brian Ellington
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The Red Sox added a pair of arms to their bullpen on Friday. Free agent left-hander Dan Runzler and right-hander Brian Ellington signed minor league pacts with the team, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com and the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. It’s still unclear whether or not the relievers will receive invitations to camp.

Both pitchers are angling for bounce-back performances in 2019. Runzler, 33, hasn’t logged more than four innings in any single MLB season since 2011, and he hasn’t pitched effectively at that level since his rookie debut in 2010. The lefty spent the better part of the last decade ping-ponging between minor league affiliates, first with the Giants, then the Diamondbacks, Twins, and Pirates. Some of his best work has been showcased during short-lived gigs with the independent Atlantic League Sugar Land Skeeters, however, for whom he delivered a 2.81 ERA, 5.1 BB/9, and 10.9 SO/9 over 48 innings in 2018. If he doesn’t pitch his way into a major league job in 2019, he’ll deepen the Red Sox’ relief options in Triple-A.

Ellington, likewise, has not pitched for an MLB team since 2017. The 28-year-old right-hander finished his three-year run with the Marlins on a sour note, pitching to an unseemly 7.25 ERA, 7.1 BB/9, and 9.7 SO/9 across 44 2/3 frames. He caught onto a minors deal with the Diamondbacks in 2018, but struggled to shake a nagging biceps injury and lasted just 11 1/3 innings after giving up a combined 22 runs, one home run, and 15 walks in rookie, Low-A, and Double-A ball. Just what the Red Sox expect from Ellington (or any of their recent minor league signees) this year isn’t readily apparent, but they’ll undoubtedly be looking for some of the 99-MPH heat he brought to Miami in years past — without any of the pesky command issues that derailed a once-promising career path.

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.