June 26, 2024

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Phillies say Bryce Harper could return Tuesday at the Dodgers

Phillies say Bryce Harper could return Tuesday at the Dodgers

ESPN News Services2 minutes to read

Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper will have a scan of his reconstructed right elbow Monday in Los Angeles and, if cleared, is expected to make his season debut Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, according to manager Rob Thompson.

The two-time National League MVP underwent Tommy John surgery on November 23. The operation was performed by Los Angeles-based Dr. Neil Al-Atrash, who Harper will visit Monday morning for a scheduled follow-up appointment. If approved, Harper will return to the Phillies lineup as the designated hitter on Tuesday against the Dodgers.

It will take just 160 days for Harper to recover, the fastest recorded return by a major league player from Tommy John surgery, according to ESPN Stats & Information Research.

When he originally performed the surgery, the Phillies submitted an estimated schedule sometime near the All-Star break. However, Harper appeared to be ahead of that expectation, as the team expressed optimism earlier this month that he could return in May.

“He’s so obsessed with getting out and playing,” Thompson said before the Phillies play the Astros Sunday night in Houston. “It itches.”

Thompson later specified during the “Sunday Night Baseball” telecast that all Harper needed was a pass from ElAttrache to slide head first.

The Phillies open a three-game series at the Dodgers on Monday night. Thompson said that even if Harper — who faces a live show for a few weeks — had been cleared, he wouldn’t have reactivated before Monday night’s game.

Harper’s comeback will come in the DH, so he doesn’t have to use his arm to throw balls from outfield. The team has also been working on coaching him at first base should he be able to return to the field there sometime this season, though mostly outfield play is ruled out for 2023.

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“Amazing,” Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said of Harper’s recovery. “He’s absolutely amazing. He’s a great athlete. He works hard. He’s focused. He wants to come back. I mean, it’s amazing what he’s accomplished. We have the next step.” [with the doctor to clear him]. But the progress he’s made has been phenomenal.”

Harper won MVP honors in 2015 with the Washington Nationals and in 2021 with the Phillies. In four seasons since signing a huge deal with Philadelphia in February 2019, Harper has batted . 282 with 101 home runs and 296 RBI. 280 batting average and a . 523 slugging percentage with 285 homers and 817 RBI in 1,382 career games over 11 major league seasons.

Harper played in 99 games last season and was named an All-Star for the seventh time, but was diagnosed with a partial tear in his arm in May and played through it — again as a DH. He also fractured his thumb and missed most of July and August after the surgery. He made it back in time for the extended run and helped the Phillies reach the World Series, where they fell to the Astros.

286 in 2022 with 18 home runs, 28 doubles, and 65 RBIs.

Information from the Associated Press and Reuters is included in this report.