Blue Jays coach Mark Budzinski leaves team following daughter’s death

Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
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TORONTO — Toronto Blue Jays first base coach Mark Budzinski will be away from the team following the death of his eldest daughter. Julia Budzinski was 17.

“The Budzinskis have been part of our Blue Jays family over the last four seasons,” general manager Ross Atkins said in a statement. “This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization and we grieve alongside Bud and his family. I have known Bud for more than 25 years and have always admired his commitment as a dad and husband first. He is loved and well-respected by our entire clubhouse and holds a special place in all our hearts.”

The Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays lined up along the foul lines before first pitch for a moment of silence. Rays manager Kevin Cash said his team was “heartbroken.”

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch, who roomed with Budzinski during his minor league career, expressed support for his grieving friend before Detroit hosted Kansas City.

Elsewhere, Red Sox manager Alex Cora offered a similar message from Chicago, where his team was facing the Cubs.

Bullpen coach Luis Hurtado coached first base in Budzinski’s absence.

Budzinski and manager Charlie Montoyo left the dugout in the third inning of the second game of a doubleheader against Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays’ clubhouse was closed after the 11-5 loss.

Budzinski played four games for Cincinnati in 2003 and retired in 2005. After managing in Cleveland’s minor league system, he joined the then-Indians big league staff in 2017. Toronto hired Budzinski in November 2018.

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.