Blue Jays closer Julian Merryweather placed on IL with oblique strain

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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DUNEDIN, Fla. — Toronto Blue Jays closer Julian Merryweather has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique.

The right-hander felt discomfort in the left side of his abdomen on his final warmup pitch in the eighth inning of a 7-3 victory over the New York Yankees.

Merryweather entered with two runners on and two outs and threw just two pitches to Aaron Hicks before Gary Sanchez was tagged out in a rundown between first and second base after a pitch in the dirt. He didn’t return for the ninth.

Merryweather has two saves and has allowed just one hit and one walk with seven strikeouts over four innings in four appearances. His fastball has reached 100.4 mph this season.

Also, Ross Stripling was scratched from his scheduled start against the Yankees due to right forearm tightness. He was unable to get loose before the game.

T.J. Zeuch replaced Stripling.

NOTES: RHP David Phelps, hit in the lower back by Clint Frazier‘s 100.7 mph liner, is day to day with a bruised back. … RHP Anthony Castro had his contract purchased from the alternate site and will work out of the bullpen.

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.