Whit Merrifield has 28-game hitting streak

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It’s easy to lose track of hitting streaks that span from one season to the next, but a September-April streak counts in the record books the same way it would if it spanned from May to July. Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals has one of the former variety: with his 3-for-4 day against the Tigers yesterday he has now hit safely in 28 straight games.

That streak began last September 10 when he followed an 0-for-4 day with a 1-for-4 day against the Chicago White Sox. He’ll attempt to keep it going at home against the Mariners this evening. Merrifield’s 28 games is only halfway to Joe DiMaggio and, of course, many a man has gotten that far only to fall short. Fifty-six is just a hard to fathom number for a hitting streak, especially in an age of low contact and high strikeout rates. Merrifield does stand a decent shot of setting a Royals record, however: he’s only two shy of tying and three shy of breaking George Brett’s record 30-game streak, which he set in 1980.

They Royals were bad last year but Merrifield was a bright spot, leading the league in hits. The Royals are bad this year — they just lost their fifth straight — but Merrifield’s streak is at least something fun for now.

 

 

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.