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Harper, deGrom among MLB stars injured heading into new season

With the World Baseball Classic on March 7 and MLB opening day on March 30, we take a look at which MLB stars are dealing with injuries ahead of the new season.

Will they miss the start of the season, and how long will it take to see them in action? 

WhatMLB Spring Training
WhereArizona and Florida 
WhenFirst Exhibition games are on Friday,  February 24, 2023
How to watchMLB.TV (not all games are broadcast) 
OddsWorld Series: LA Dodgers +600, Houston Astros +600, New York Mets +700, New York Yankees +800, Atlanta Braves +900, Toronto Blue Jays +900

Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies) 

After suffering such an injury hit 2022 season, but managing to put in such heroics for the Phillies in the postseason and their run to the World Series. 

Harper had Tommy John surgery in November, the procedure to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. At first estimates, it was thought that the 30-year-old would be available after the All-Star break, but the Phillies are confident he may beat that timeline. 

Harper has been taking dry swings at home in Las Vegas, meaning he is swinging a bat but not making contact with a baseball. 

Speaking in a press conference last week, Phillies president of baseball operations told that Harper was ‘doing great’, he said: "You could say that he's a little bit ahead, but often you say that about players and all of sudden you have a setback. 

"I'm just knocking on wood. We're just going to make sure we're careful with how we keep progressing with him. We’ve got a way to go." 

Harper is +4000 to win the National League Most Valuable Player award, which he has won twice in 2015 and 2021. 

Jacob deGrom (Texas Rangers) 

There was concern in the Rangers' Spring Training camp when it was announced that deGrom was being held back from throwing a bullpen session last week because of soreness in his side. 

However, since then deGrom has thrown 20 to 25 pitches in a short session as the Rangers express caution with their prized free-agent signing from this offseason. The 34-year-old has had a limited time with starts in the past three seasons with the New York Mets. 

In fact, deGrom had only 15 or fewer starts in that time in each of the three years. Many of those injuries began as no big deal and then became part of a list of ailments of his elite pitching career. 

DeGrom is +550 to win his first American League Cy Young award, to add to his two NL awards. 

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Lance McCullers Jr (Houston Astros)

The World Series champions will be without starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr when the season starts after the 29-year-old suffered a small muscle strain in his right elbow which will put him on the injured list for opening day. 

McCullers Jr has had his injury setbacks before. In 2019, he missed the entire season after going under Tommy John surgery and the first four months of last season with a right flexor pronator strain. 

McCullers said his arm was sore after throwing a bullpen session, an MRI showed no structural damage, but McCullers won't be able to throw for a couple of weeks and will be behind all the other starting pitchers as they build-up their fitness for opening week. 

Having lost Justin Verlander to the New York Mets in free agency, the Astros will have to now lean into their starting pitching depth. Rookie right-hander Hunter Brown is likely to join the rotation for the opening week. 

McCullers Jr is +4000 to win the AL Cy Young Award and the Astros are still +600 to retain the World Series. 

Nestor Cortes (New York Yankees)

Nestor Cortes' pulled out of pitching for the USA in the World Baseball Classic after being diagnosed with a low Grade two right hamstring strain. 

The good news is that the 28-year-old threw a bullpen session and that Cortes said that "he felt better than he expected". 

It was announced by the Yankees that he had taken part in some running at about 70 to 75 per-cent and there is a probability that Cortes could make the opening day roster. Cortes is +3500 to win the American League Cy Young Award. 

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