Rodón dominates amid trade rumors, Giants beat Cubs 4-0

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN FRANCISCO – Carlos Rodon struck out 10 over seven dominant innings amid speculation he could be traded, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 Sunday night.

Rodon (9-6) got help from his defense early. Left fielder Luis Gonzalez reached over the outfield wall to snare Christopher Morel‘s leadoff drive, and center fielder Austin Slater made a running grab of Nelson Velazquez‘s hard-hit ball an inning later.

Then Rodon took over. He fanned two in the second inning, then struck out the side in the third and fourth. He yielded two hits, none after the third inning. It was the 18th double-digit strikeout performance of his career and his sixth this season.

San Francisco scored all its runs in the fourth inning by rallying with two outs against starter Adrian Sampson (0-2). Eighth-place hitter Jason Vosler roped an RBI single, followed by No. 9 hitter Austin Wynns‘ bases-loaded triple.

The Giants won three of four games in the series, marking their eighth consecutive home series win over the Cubs.

LOOK OUT

Cubs first baseman P.J. Higgins slammed his right hip into the railing of an oddly-shaped photo well in foul territoy chasing a foul ball in the seventh inning. He was shaken up and consulted with a team trainer before remaining in the game. He made a diving stop on Slater’s grounder an inning later.

GIANTS, CUBS ENGINEER SWAP

San Francisco acquired infielder Dixon Machado from the Cubs on Sunday for right-hander Raynel Espinal.

Machado, who appeared in 172 games for Detroit from 2015 through 2018, immediately entered the Giants’ starting lineup at shortstop. Injuries to Brandon Crawford (left knee) and Thario Estrada (concussion) left San Francisco particularly thin at that position.

The Giants designated right-hander Tobias Myers for assignment to clear roster room for Machado, 30.

Estrada, who had replaced Crawford, went on the seven-day injury list after being hit by a pitch Saturday night.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: LHP Wade Miley (shoulder) threw off a bullpen mound Sunday and might be ready to make an injury rehabilitation start this coming week.

Giants: Crawford, who’s in his third stint on the IL this season, likely will need a short injury rehab assignment – roughly four games – before returning to the lineup.

UP NEXT

The Giants open a four-game series against their archrivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, beginning Monday at Oracle Park. Giants right-hander Logan Webb will oppose Dodgers lefty Andrew Heaney.

Following Monday’s scheduled off-day, the Cubs will play a three-game series at St. Louis. Chicago’s Keegan Thompson and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright will meet in a matchup of right-handers.

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.