Greene wins major league debut, Reds beat Braves 6-3

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves
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ATLANTA – Hard-throwing Hunter Greene won his major league debut, Kyle Farmer hit a two-run single in a five-run third inning and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Atlanta Braves 6-3 on Sunday.

Greene (1-0) lived up to his billing as a top prospect with overpowering velocity. He regularly touched 100 mph on the radar gun, topped out at 102 in the fourth and was still hitting triple digits in his final inning. The right-hander allowed three runs, four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in five innings.

The Reds took a 5-0 lead in the third. Jonathan India walked and scored from first when Tyler Naquin doubled to the right-field corner. Braves starter Ian Anderson (0-1) loaded the bases on a pair of walks, giving up two more runs on a forceout and Colin Moran‘s single. Sean Newcomb then gave up a two-run single to Farmer.

Tyler Stephenson made it 6-1 in the fifth with a homer to left off Newcomb.

Greene, at 22 years, 247 days, became the youngest starting pitcher to make his debut for Cincinnati since Mike Leake received no decision on April 11, 2010, against the Chicago Cubs.

Greene, the second overall draft pick in 2017, is the Reds’ top prospect according to MLB Pipeline and No. 2 according to Baseball America. He missed the 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Matt Olson whiffed on a 100 mph fastball in the first for Greene’s first career strikeout, but Olson singled on a 102 mph fastball to begin the fourth for Atlanta’s first hit. After Austin Riley doubled, Olson scored on Marcell Ozuna‘s sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.

Travis d'Arnaud and Olson homered in the fifth off Greene to trim the lead to 6-3. It marked Olson’s first homer since he replaced Freddie Freeman as the Braves’ everyday first baseman after getting traded from Oakland and signing a $168 million, eight-year contract.

Anderson, making his first start since pitching five hitless innings to win Game 3 of the World Series, allowed a career-high five runs, five walks and three hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Luis Cessa pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief, Tony Santillan got four outs and Art Warren worked the ninth for Cincinnati. Manager David Bell brought in Santillan, who earned his first career save Thursday, in the seventh to face Eddie Rosario with a runner on first and the Reds sitting on a three-run lead with Olson, who went 3 for 4, on deck.

Rosario popped up to end the threat. Warren earned his first career save by facing the minimum.

Each team won twice in the four-game series to open the season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds LHP Mike Minor (left shoulder) will make a rehab start Wednesday at Double-A Chattanooga. … Cincinnati RHP Luis Castillo (right shoulder) will play catch on the off day Monday and is scheduled for another bullpen session Tuesday. … Reds 2B Donovan Solano (left hamstring) ran Saturday and took grounders on Sunday.

NICE WORK

Farmer, the Cincinnati shortstop, retired the final two batters of the sixth with over-the-shoulder catches in shallow left and center.

HEAT CHECK

Greene reached 100 mph with 20 pitches, tied for eighth-most among starting pitchers in any game since pitch tracking started in 2008. He trailed only Jacob deGrom (33 and 28), Nathan Eovaldi (28), Yordano Ventura (26), Noah Syndergaard (24 and 21) and James Paxton (24), and tied Sandy Alcantara.

UP NEXT

Reds RHP Tyler Mahle (1-0) will make his second start Tuesday in Cincinnati’s home opener opposite Cleveland RHP Shane Bieber (0-0).

Braves RHP Huascar Ynoa (0-0) will make his season debut Monday at home against a yet-to-be announced starter for Washington. Anibal Sanchez was scheduled to go for the Nationals but is dealing with neck stiffness.

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.