Phillies pitcher Wheeler on 15-day IL with forearm tendinitis

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA – Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler was put on the 15-day injured list with right forearm tendinitis Thursday, a move that came three hours after Philadelpia announced slugger Bryce Harper was set to return from a broken thumb.

Wheeler, 32, is 11-7 with a 3.07 ERA in 23 starts. The right-hander finished second in the NL Cy Young Award race behind Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes last year after throwing the most innings in the majors at 213 1/3.

“He’s not happy,” Phillies president Dave Dombrowski said. “But I think he understands that this is the wise thing to do.”

In his last outing on Saturday, Wheeler hit 97 mph on the radar gun, but struggled with command in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed four runs and threw 106 pitches in an 8-2 loss to the New York Mets, his former team.

“Just like a lot of guys, he’s dealt with some of these issues in the past,” Dombrowski said. “He dealt with it last year. So it is one of those things. that pitchers deal with it. He’s been dealing with this. It is one of those things that maybe has bothered him a little more.”

Left-hander Bailey Falter is expected to make the start on Friday night against Pittsburgh in Wheeler’s place.

Dombrowski said Wheeler would miss two starts – against the Pirates and next week on Philadelphia’s trip to Arizona and San Francisco. No MRI has been scheduled to examine Wheeler’s forearm, a sign that the Phillies are not overly concerned about the severity of the injury.

“We felt that it was better to deal with this right now and to get it over with,” Dombrowski said.

The Phillies are second in the NL wild-card race. Harper, the reigning NL MVP, is coming off the IL on Friday after being sidelined in late June when a pitch broke his left thumb.

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.