Twins clinch AL Central title for first time since 2010

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The Twins clinched the AL Central title on Wednesday thanks to their own 5-1 win over the Tigers as well as the Indians’ 8-3 loss to the White Sox. It’s the Twins’ first division title since 2010, putting them back in the playoffs for the first time in two years.

Wednesday’s contest was a breeze for the Twins as starter Randy Dobnak allowed a lone unearned run on one hit with no walks and six strikeouts against the lowly Tigers. The bulk of the offense came on a Luis Arraez two-run homer in the seventh and another two-run homer in the eighth from Eddie Rosario.

The Tigers’ loss clinched for them the worst record in baseball, meaning they will have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft.

The Astros and Yankees are still battling it out for the best record in the American League. The Twins will face whichever of the two teams has the worse record, which right now would be the Yankees. The Twins have famously not fared well against the Yankees in the postseason:

  • Lost 2017 AL Wild Card game to Yankees 8-4
  • Swept in 2010 ALDS by Yankees
  • Swept in 2009 ALDS by Yankees
  • Lost 2004 ALDS 3-1 to Yankees
  • Lost 2003 ALDS 3-1 to Yankees

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.