Braves newcomer Robinson Canó starts vs Mets, who cut him in May

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ATLANTA — Newly acquired Robinson Cano instantly joined Atlanta’s starting lineup, playing second base and batting ninth as the Braves opened a series against his former team, the NL East-leading New York Mets.

Atlanta got the 39-year-old Cano for $1 in a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres. The Braves trailed the Mets by 1 1/2 games going into the three-game set at Truist Park.

Cano gives the Braves another option at second base after Ozzie Albies went down with a broken foot.

Cano hit a combined .149 with one homer and four RBIs in 74 at-bats for the Padres and Mets this season. He batted .333 with three homers and 20 RBIs in 96 at-bats for Triple-A El Paso after the Padres released him and re-signed him to a minor league deal last month.

Albies fractured his foot last month in an at-bat, and Atlanta has been relying on Orlando Arcia as his replacement.

Arcia was hitting .252 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 123 at-bats this year. Manager Brian Snitker said he’s been pleased with Albies’ replacement, especially his defense.

The Mets owe Cano nearly $45 million remaining on his original contract signed with Seattle. He was earning a prorated share of the $700,000 minimum in his major league deal with San Diego. He sat out last season in serving a second suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Cano was an eight-time All-Star while with the New York Yankees and Seattle. He is a career .301 hitter with 335 home runs and 1,306 RBIs, and a two-time Gold Glover.

The Padres signed him to a minor league deal on June 10, eight days after releasing him.

In addition to adding Cano to the 26-man roster, the Braves reinstated outfielder Adam Duvall from the paternity list.

First baseman Mike Ford was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and infielder Phil Gosselin was designated for assignment.

The Braves also traded three minor leaguers to Kansas City for the overall No. 35 pick in this month’s MLB draft.

Outfielder Drew Waters, right-handed pitcher Andrew Hoffmann and infielder CJ Alexander were sent to the Royals. Waters will be optioned to Triple-A Omaha while Hoffman and Alexander will be assigned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Waters, 23, hit .246 in 49 games at Triple-A Gwinnett this year. Last season, he stole 28 bases in Triple-A.

Hoffmann, 22, was 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 15 starts at High-A Rome. Alexander, 25, hit .258 with 15 home runs and 13 steals in 68 games with Double-A Mississippi.

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.