Rangers sign 3rd overall pick Kumar Rocker with $5.2M bonus

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Third overall pick Kumar Rocker signed with the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, a week after the right-handed pitcher was drafted again and a year after concerns over a physical led to him going unsigned by the New York Mets as the 10th overall pick.

Rocker got a $5.2 million bonus from the Rangers. That is well below the slot value of nearly $7.6 million for the third overall pick.

After shoulder surgery last September, Rocker opened this year with the Tri-City ValleyCats in the independent Frontier League. He was 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in five starts, with 32 strikeouts and four walks over 20 innings.

The Rangers will initially send Rocker to their facility in Arizona before deciding where and when he will pitch in their organization.

“Kumar is an elite competitor with the potential to make a major contribution for the Rangers, and we look forward to watching his development,” Texas general manager Chris Young said. “We will be working with Kumar in the short term on the appropriate training and pitching program for the remainder of the 2022 season.”

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Rocker was 28-10 with a 2.89 ERA over 42 games from 2019-21 at Vanderbilt University, where he was teammates with right-hander Jack Leiter. The Rangers drafted Leiter with the second overall pick last summer, and he is now pitching at Double-A Frisco.

Rocker was the only first-round pick in the 2021 amateur baseball draft that went unsigned. The pitcher and the Mets failed to reach an agreement by the August deadline because the Mets had concerns over the health of his right arm. Rocker’s agent, Scott Boras, said Rocker had “non-pitching-related minor surgery” on his right arm.

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.