Brayan Bello to make MLB debut for Red Sox vs. Rays

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Highly touted pitching prospect Brayan Bello will make his major league debut for the Boston Red Sox when they host the Tampa Bay Rays in the finale of a three-game series.

With starter Rich Hill on the 15-day injured list with a knee sprain, the call went to the 23-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic. He has piled up 114 strikeouts over 85 innings in the minors this season.

Bello was 6-2 with a 2.81 ERA in nine games for Triple-A Worcester, the last of which was on Friday. In the Boston system since 2018, he was the 2021 Red Sox Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year.

“I’m 100 percent excited,” Bello told through translator and Triple-A teammate Yolmer Sanchez. “I just want to work hard and have a good game.”

Injuries have shuffled Boston’s pitching staff in recent days. Hill was placed on the injured list Saturday, sidelining him alongside fellow starters Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation since June 9) and Nathan Eovaldi (low back inflammation since June 12).

Whitlock, whom manager Alex Cora said would return to action as a reliever, and Eovaldi both threw two innings in a simulated game prior to Tuesday’s 8-4 Rays win.

Additionally, Michael Wacha was scratched from his Monday start due to “dead arm,” Cora said.

Chris Sale (right rib stress fracture) could make the final step on his journey back to Boston as his rehab assignment moves to Triple-A, where he will pitch in front of a sold-out crowd on Wednesday. His return to the Red Sox rotation could follow.

“I talked to him a little bit. He’s ready to go,” Cora said. “If it’s up to him, he’ll pitch (at Fenway on Wednesday), but I think one more, maybe two, down there. Go compete on Wednesday and we’ll decide what we do next.”

Offensively, the Red Sox will look for better results with runners in scoring position after going 2-for-12 and stranding 11 on Tuesday. Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story both homered.

For the Rays, two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (3-5, 3.91 ERA) will oppose Bello. Kluber has gone 0-3 in four starts since his most recent win on June 8 against St. Louis.

Most recently, Kluber gave up five runs on seven hits in a three-inning Friday outing at Toronto, a 9-2 loss.

“They hit some pretty decent pitches. They laid off some pitches just out of the zone and took advantage when I did make mistakes,” Kluber said of his the start, which ended with an 11-batter third inning.

Kluber will be making his 12th career start against the Red Sox, a team that he had not faced since 2018 until earlier this season. He allowed 11 hits and four runs in a five-inning start back on April 22, a 4-3 Boston win.

Kluber has a 3-5 record and 4.63 ERA in his career against Boston.

The Rays bounced back from being shut out 4-0 in the series opener on Monday by posting the eight runs on 11 hits in Tuesday’s win, their fourth in five games.

“It was encouraging,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “(Boston starter Nick) Pivetta’s tough. … They got back in the ballgame, but we added back. I’m very encouraged with how we swung the bats.”

Yandy Diaz and Wander Franco have hit streaks of 10 and eight games, respectively.

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.