Junk shuts down Royals, Angels cruise 4-0 to take series

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Janson Junk pitched five-plus innings of four-hit ball for the Angels, earning his first major league win and watching the Los Angeles bullpen shut down the Kansas City Royals the rest of the way in a 4-0 victory.

Shohei Ohtani reached base three times and drove in a run, pacing a scuffling Angels offense that managed to capitalize on the Royals’ shoddy fielding and get their first series win since June 27-29 against the White Sox.

Summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake to make the start, the 26-year-old Junk (1-0) allowed four hits and a walk while striking out eight before turning over a 2-0 lead to his bullpen, which did not allow a run for the second consecutive day.

Brad Keller (5-11) allowed three runs on six hits and three walks in six innings for Kansas City. He retired the first nine batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth, when Kurt Suzuki led off with a double to left field that Andrew Benintendi didn’t field cleanly enough to hold Suzuki to one bag.

One out later, Phil Gosselin drove a pitch to right that MJ Melendez – a catcher by trade who was making his eighth career start in the outfield – couldn’t snare while crashing into the wall. Gosselin cruised into third with a run-scoring triple while Melendez, whose face smacked the metal fencing, needed a moment to recover before staying in the game.

Brandon Marsh proceeded to drive in Gosselin for a 2-0 lead.

Gosselin had a chance to do more damage in the sixth, when Jared Walsh and Suzuki hit one-out singles and Magneuris Sierra walked to load the bases. Instead, Gosselin grounded to shortstop for an inning-ending double play.

It didn’t matter. The Royals never came close to solving Junk or the Los Angeles bullpen all afternoon.

TROUT’S PROGNOSIS

Angels OF Mike Trout will go at least another week without baseball activity because of his ailing back, trainer Mike Frostad said, and there’s a chance the three-time AL MVP could need to manage it the rest of his career. Trout left a game against Houston on July 12 with what was called back spasms, then went on the injured list a week later with rib case inflammation. He had a cortisone injection last week for what has since been determined to be a rare spinal dysfunction.

ROSTER MOVES

Angels: RHP Austin Warren was optioned to Salt Lake to make room for Junk on the roster.

Royals: LHP Angel Zerpa went on the IL after hurting his right knee while fielding a grounder down the first-base line in his start Tuesday night. RHP Jackson Kowar was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to replace him.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: OF Jo Adell got the day off after getting hit in the arm by a pitch Tuesday night.

Royals: SS Bobby Witt Jr. (hamstring) missed his third straight game, though manager Mike Matheny said he’s still hopeful of avoiding an IL trip. … 1B Vinnie Pasquantino was out of the lineup with right thumb discomfort.

UP NEXT

Angels: Head home for a four-game series against Texas with RHP Shohei Ohtani (9-5, 2.80 ERA) starting Thursday night’s opener.

Royals: Embark on a seven-game trip with RHP Brady Singer (4-3, 3.82) on the mound for the first of four games against the Yankees on Thursday night.

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.