Athletics release Piscotty, call up top prospect Langeliers

Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics released veteran outfielder Stephen Piscotty and cleared way for top prospect Shea Langeliers to gain key experience down the stretch for the last-place team in the AL West.

Langeliers, a 24-year-old catcher and left fielder selected ninth overall in the 2019 draft out of Baylor, hit .283 with 19 homers and 56 RBIs in 92 games for Triple-A Las Vegas after being acquired from Atlanta in the March trade that sent Matt Olson to the Braves. Langeliers was expected to make his major league debut as designated hitter for the A’s at Texas.

General manager David Forst thanked 31-year-old Piscotty for his impact on the club dating to his arrival ahead of the 2018 season in a trade from St. Louis that brought him back close to his home in Pleasanton. His mother, Gretchen, died in May that year from Lou Gehrig’s disease and Piscotty helped raise awareness for ALS. Major League Baseball held its first Lou Gehrig Day last year.

He helped lead the A’s back to the playoffs in 2018 after a three-year drought with career highs of 27 home runs and 88 RBIs.

“I want to acknowledge Stephen Piscotty first and just talk a little bit about his time here, which came at a really important time for us when we made that trade at the end of 2017,” Forst said in a conference call. “I appreciate everything that Stephen gave us both on and off the field in his time here.”

Oakland also recalled David MacKinnon from Las Vegas. The A’s also placed center fielder Ramon Laureano on the injured list with left side soreness. He was out of the lineup a day after he felt discomfort on a swing during his at-bat in the fourth inning at Houston and exited.

Laureano was scheduled for an MRI exam. He will be examined by a team doctor back in the Bay Area, Forst said.

Sean Murphy will remain the starting catcher and Forst said manager Mark Kotsay planned to speak with Murphy, veteran Stephen Vogt and Langeliers about playing time for the remainder of the season.

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.