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BC-BBO--Opening Day-The Latest

March 28, 2019
By The Associated Press

The Latest on opening day (all times EDT):

12:35 p.m.

Milwaukee Brewers reliever Corey Knebel says he will decide on the next course of action for his ailing right arm on Friday.

Knebel is sidelined with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He could have season-ending Tommy John surgery or try to rehab the injury.

Knebel says he is going to see team physician Dr. William Raasch on Thursday and “go from there.”

Losing Knebel for the year could be a big blow for Milwaukee, which leaned on its bullpen in its run to the NL Championship Series last October.

Knebel had 16 saves and a 3.58 ERA last season, plus a 1.29 ERA in six postseason appearances. He was an All-Star in 2017 with 39 saves and a 1.78 ERA in 78 innings.

— Jay Cohen reporting from Milwaukee.

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12:30 p.m.

Post-Bryce life officially begins for the Washington Nationals.

He’s no longer in the outfield. He’s no longer in the heart of the lineup. He’s no longer in the clubhouse.

Until this opening day, Bryce Harper was a key component for the Nationals for seven years, making six All-Star teams, winning 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and 2015 NL MVP honors.

Now he’s with the Philadelphia Phillies, leaving as a free agent for a $330 million contract.

So on Thursday, it was 21-year-old rookie Victor Robles starting in center field against the New York Mets, not Harper. And 20-year-old Juan Soto, last year’s runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year, batting cleanup. And veteran utilityman Howie Kendrick’s No. 47 uniform hanging at the locker that had been home to Harper’s familiar No. 34.

Kendrick, as it happens, was not at Nationals Park, either, though. He’s starting the season on the injured list.

— Howard Fendrich reporting from Washington.

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12:25 p.m.

Bryce Harper will bat third and play right field when he makes his Philadelphia Phillies debut.

Harper signed a $330 million, 13-year contract with the Phillies and the 2015 NL MVP has stirred anticipation in town for opening day not felt in years. The ballpark parking lots started to fill up hours before first pitch and plenty of fans were in Harper gear. Harper has the sport’s top-selling jersey, ending a two-year reign for Aaron Judge’s No. 99.

Harper isn’t the only star in the Phillies opening day lineup against the NL East champion Atlanta Braves. The Phillies have nine All-Stars, two MVPs, one Cy Young Award winner and one Rookie of the Year award winner on the roster. The average age of the 25-man roster is 28.5.

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