Bryce Harper was nothing short of spectacular for the Philadelphia Phillies during their Cinderella run to the World Series last season, but there was a reason the slugger strictly served as a DH. He was dealing with an elbow issue that even required an injection last May in order to play the rest of 2022. As a result, Harper underwent Tommy John Surgery in November to fix the injury and will miss the first half of the campaign.
On Thursday in Clearwater at Spring Training though, Harper pinpointed an exact date for his return: The All-Star Break. Via AP Sports (H/T ESPN):
“Things can change either way,” Harper said. “I could be after, I could be before. But as of right now, that’s the date we kind of solidified. We’re not going to rush. We’re going to be smart about it.”
Bryce Harper has been taking swings since arriving down in Florida, but he’s yet to throw a baseball. Getting him back for the second half would obviously be huge for Philadelphia, who will be looking to make another run come postseason time.
The 30-year-old said recovery is going well and he’s just taking it day by day because this is a brand new experience for him, having never dealt with an elbow problem before:
“Once I was done with surgery, I took the time off that I needed to let it heal,” Harper said. “It’s still healing right now, still evolving. Just trying to see how I feel each day and go from there.”
“I’ve never dealt with anything like an elbow, so definitely it’s different waters for me,” Harper said. “Just trying to take it day by day.”
Harper hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBI in 99 games last season and in the playoffs, the former first-overall pick exploded. He slashed .349 with six bombs and 13 RBI in 17 contests, also smacking seven doubles.
Needless to say, Harper is pivotal to the Phillies’ success. The sooner he’s back, the better.