Bryce Harper Could Return to Phillies’ Lineup as Early as Next Week
The Philadelphia Phillies’ lineup could soon receive a significant boost, as early as next Monday.
Matt Gelb of The Athletic is reporting that Bryce Harper will begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A Lehigh Valley Tuesday. The Phillies plan for Harper to play every day for the remainder of the week and sit Sunday. If all goes well, he could return to the Phillies’ lineup in Arizona next Monday night.
Harper exited the Phillies’ June 25 game in San Diego upon being hit by a 97 mph fastball from Blake Snell. The pitch fractured the slugger’s left thumb.
Coming off his second MVP season, Harper was having another MVP-caliber first half prior to the injury, slashing .318/.385/.985 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI, mostly filling the team’s designated hitter spot.
Despite being without their premier offensive player for the past two months, the Phillies have played well, with a 28-20 record since Harper hit the Injured List, averaging 4.5 runs per game in his absence.
Currently sitting in the third National League wild card spot, with a 1.5 game-lead over the Milwaukee Brewers, Harper’s return could launch the Phillies back to the postseason for the first time since 2011. The Phillies are currently the National League team that has gone the longest without a playoff appearance. Last season was the club’s first winning season in ten years.
Harper returned to taking batting practice last Monday, for the first time since sustaining his injury. The outfielder posted an Instagram story of himself getting some cuts in during the Phillies’ batting practice session at Citizens Bank Park. He was once again spotted taking batting practice again Monday.
After losing three of four at home to the Mets, the Phillies open a four-game series versus the Cincinnati Reds Monday night at 7: 05 p.m. ET.
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