Mariners’ Rodríguez, Guardians’ Ramírez enter Home Run Derby

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WASHINGTON — Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez and Guardians slugger Jose Ramirez will compete in the All-Star Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium.

Rodriguez will be the 14th rookie to particpate, and only two of those have won outright: Pete Alonso in 2019 and Aaron Judge in 2017. Alonso is the two-time defending champion and leads the eight-person field for this year’s Derby along with the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols, Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber and Nationals’ Juan Soto.

Rodriguez announced his entry on social media. The 21-year-old leads major league rookies with 15 home runs entering Wednesday and is third with a .477 slugging percentage. That’s after going homerless over his first 20 career games and recording his first career home run May 1.

He is the seventh player in Mariners club history to participate in the Home Run Derby and the first since Robinson Cano in 2016. Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. is the only Mariners player to ever win (three times: 1994, 1998 & 1999).

The Seattle outfielder, who is hitting .274 with 44 RBIs, 50 runs and 21 stolen bases, was announced as a member of the American League All-Star Team on Sunday.

He sat out the opener of Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader in Washington but is in the lineup for the second game.

Ramirez was elected to his fourth All-Star Game this year. He’ll try to become the first switch-hitter to win the Derby outright after Eric Davis tied for the 1989 crown. Ramirez has 17 home runs this season, 14 of them as a left-handed hitter.


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.