The Philadelphia Phillies will enter the 2023 season with World Series aspirations after making it all the way there last season before coming up short against the Houston Astros. However, things may not really be able to take off for them until they get Bryce Harper back on the field, as he underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow this offseason.

Harper will not be ready for the start of the season, which is a tough blow for the Phillies. But the good news is that Harper is still on track to start swinging a bat in March, and the expectation is that he would be able to return to the lineup right around the All-Star Game. However, Harper’s return to playing in the outfield remains up in the air, and while the hope is that he can return to his right field spot at some point in 2023, there are no concrete plans for that to happen.

Via Alex Coffey:

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“On a segment on WIP, Dave Dombrowski said that Bryce Harper’s rehab has gone well so far. Said he should start swinging a bat around the end of March. Also said he should be back in the lineup right around the All Star Game (which fits with original timeline the Phillies gave). Harper’s return to right field appears to be up in the air. Dombrowski said they expect him to be able to play the outfield later this season but they’ll continue to monitor it.”

Recovering from Tommy John surgery when it comes to throwing a baseball and hitting a baseball are two completely different things, so it sounds like the Phillies are only banking on Harper to return to the lineup this season rather than both the lineup and the outfield. Either way, his recovery seems to be going well, but Philadelphia will have to figure out how to make due without Harper to start the 2023 campaign, or else their World Series aspirations will go to waste.