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Bryce Harper to have thumb surgery, but Phillies hope reigning NL MVP can return this season

Bryce Harper goes to the ground in pain after being hit by a pitch Saturday.Denis Poroy/Getty

Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will have surgery Wednesday to repair his broken left thumb, and the team hopes the 2021 National League MVP can play again this season.

Manager Rob Thomson did not offer a timetable for Harper’s return.

“It’s tough, but it’s probably the best thing for him. So whatever’s best for him is best for me,” Thomson said. “If he’s able to come back, which we plan on, then that’s good under the circumstances.”

Harper’s thumb was broken when he was hit by a 97-mile-per-hour pitch from San Diego Padres lefthander Blake Snell Saturday night.

The 29-year-old Harper is hitting .318 with 15 home runs, 48 RBIs, and a .984 OPS, and has helped the Phillies recently surge back into playoff contention.

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Atlanta won, 5-3, at Philadelphia on Tuesday night behind two home runs from Matt Olson and another from Travis d’Arnaud.

“I’ve got to be positive for the guys in here,” Harper said after the injury. “I know they’ll pick up the slack. I’m just really bummed for the organization, the guys, the city of Philadelphia, the fans. I love running out there and playing every day. Definitely bummed.”

Harper checked his swing as the pitch rode inside and high toward his shoulder before hitting him on the outside of the left hand in the fourth inning. He fell to the ground and was in pain as he held his hand while on his knees for several minutes.

Bryce Harper reacts after being hit by a pitch from Blake Snell Saturday night.Derrick Tuskan/Associated Press

“I think this is probably what’s best for him,” Thomson said, “although it’s a broken bone and that’s bad; he’s not happy about that, not being able to play, because he wants to play. But he’s looking forward to getting back [near] the end of the year.”

JP Sears pitches in for Yankees

Lefthander JP Sears stretched his big league scoreless streak to 12 2/3 innings and won his second spot start, pitching the major league-leading Yankees over the worst-in-majors Athletics, 2-1, at New York for their 15th win in 19 games.

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Sears (3-0) limited the A’s to three hits in 5 2/3 innings, struck out one, and walked one.

Jose Trevino backed him with an RBI single in the first off Frankie Montas (3-8), and Marwin Gonzalez homered in the second.

Sean Murphy reached on an interference call on Trevino with two outs in the ninth on a grounder to second that caused the public-address system to play the game-ending “New York, New York.”

Pinch hitter Stephen Vogt singled to put runners at the corners and Elvis Andrus hit an RBI single off Clay Holmes that cut the lead to one. Holmes then retired Tony Kemp on a groundout to get his 13th save in 14 chances.

New York improved to 55-20 and a season-high 35 games over .500, off to the majors’ best 75-game start since the 2001 Mariners.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected in the eighth for arguing that plate umpire Stu Scheurwater was calling strikes on 6-foot-7-inch Aaron Judge that were below the zone.

Braves’ Kenley Jansen on IL with irregular heartbeat

Braves closer Kenley Jansen was put on the 15-day injured list because of an irregular heartbeat, the latest heart-related issue in the veteran righthander’s career.

The move was made retroactive to Monday when Jansen felt discomfort, manager Brian Snitker said.

In November 2018, Jansen underwent a cardiac ablation, a procedure to restore normal heart rhythm. He was first diagnosed with irregular heartbeat issues in 2011 and had an ablation the next year.

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The 34-year-old signed a one-year, $16 million deal with the Braves in the offseason. He is 4-0 with a 3.58 ERA and 20 saves in 24 opportunities.

Kenley Jansen will be on the shelf for a stretch.Bob Andres/Associated Press

“He’s been unbelievable,” Snitker said. “Having him has allowed us to use our bullpen depth.”

A three-time All-Star, Jansen is second among active pitchers with 370 career saves.

Snitker expects to use the combination of lefthanders A.J. Minter and Will Smith to close games in Jansen’s absence. They are a combined 2 for 7 in save opportunities this year.

Snitker also said star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. remained in Atlanta for treatment on his bruised left foot. Acuña is day to day and could arrive in Philadelphia as early as for Wednesday night’s game.

Acuña fouled a ball off his foot in the third inning and later exited Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Dodgers. X-rays and an MRI showed no fracture.

Woodruff fans 10 Rays in return from IL

Brandon Woodruff struck out 10 over five innings in his return from the injured list, Andrew McCutchen and Luis Urías homered during a four-run sixth, and the Brewers beat the Rays, 5-3, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Woodruff, who hurt his right ankle on May 27 at St. Louis, allowed one run and two hits. While on the 15-day injured list, Raynaud’s syndrome affected his pitching fingers. The righthander’s average four-seam fastball was 97.7 miles per hour, which tied with a start on July 21, 2019 at Arizona for his fastest in any outing. Woodruff (6-3) had no issues with his fingers. “That’s a good, positive sign,” Woodruff said. “I’ll just keep monitoring it, But as far as today, if it goes like it does today for the rest of the year I’ll be happy with that.” … Patrick Corbin matched a career high with 12 strikeouts, Yadiel Hernandez delivered a go-ahead two-run double, and the Nationals rallied in the eighth inning for the second straight game, beating the Pirates, 3-1, at Washington. Corbin (4-10) allowed one run in eight innings. The Nationals sputtered with runners in scoring position much of the game, going hitless in their first eight attempts before Hernandez pinch hit against former Washington prospect Wil Crowe (3-5) with two on and two outs in the eighth. Hernandez hit a shot to right, scoring both runners. Corbin, who hadn’t posted a double-digit strikeout game since 2019, allowed five hits and walked two, striking out the side in the eighth to finish his night … Jorge Polanco drove in three runs in his first game back from the injured list and rookie Josh Winder pitched six stellar innings as the Twins earned a day-night doubleheader split with a 6-0 win over the Guardians in Cleveland. Polanco came off an IL stint for lower back tightness between games and cracked a two-run homer in the third inning off rookie Konnor Pilkington (1-1) for a 3-0 lead as the Twins restored their lead in the AL Central to three games over the Guardians. Amed Rosario’s two-run single in the eighth rallied Cleveland to a 3-2 win in the opener.

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Mets delay Max Scherzer’s rehab start

Mets ace Max Scherzer had his minor league rehab start with Double A Binghamton pushed back a day to Wednesday, but New York manager Buck Showalter says there has been no setback in the righthander’s recovery from a strained oblique. Scherzer will be pitching on seven days of rest after his first rehab start on June 21. Over the weekend, New York dashed speculation that the three-time Cy Young Award winner would return for Sunday’s game in Miami. Showalter said the Mets decided Monday that Scherzer shouldn’t pitch Tuesday, citing discussions with Scherzer about how he felt and general caution with the nature of his injury. “There’s no reason to rush it,” Showalter said. “We’re not going to make that mistake.” … Angels reliever Archie Bradley broke a bone in his elbow while climbing over the dugout railing during the Sunday’s massive brawl with the Mariners and will be out for at least one month, trainer Mike Frostad said Tuesday. Bradley won’t start a throwing program for four weeks … Houston placed five-time All-Star Michael Brantley on the injured list with right shoulder discomfort. The 35-year-old outfielder left the Astros’ 6-3 loss to the Yankees Sunday in the eighth inning. He was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts before being replaced by pinch hitter J.J. Matijevic. Brantley is hitting .288 with 5 homers and a .785 OPS in 64 games.

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