Good news Phillies fans: Bryce Harper is back, sort of.
While Harper is still recovering from a November reconstructive elbow surgery, he’s slated to arrive at Phillies’ training camp in Clearwater, Florida on Wednesday and continue his rehab with the team. As of now, there’s no definite timetable regarding when he will return full time to Philadelphia’s lineup.
Harper first injured his elbow last April and has not played in right field since April 16th, but still managed to play 99 regular season games and all 17 of the Phillies’ postseason contests as their permanent designated hitter. Notably, Harper mashed in the playoffs despite his lingering injury, posting a .349/.414/.746 triple slash to go along with six home runs and 13 runs batted in.
Once Harper joins the rest of his teammates for Spring Training, he need to adjust to a baseball landscape that has dramatically changed thanks to the implementation of the pitch clock.
“It’s going to be a different game, of course, especially with myself and a lot of guys that have been playing for a long time,” Bryce Harper told the Associated Press. “It’s going to be different to see baseball on a time clock, but it’s something we’re going to have to adapt to. We’ll see what happens going forward. I look forward to kind of progressing in that how and when I can.”
In this sense, Harper’s progress—both with the pitch clock and with his rehab—will be major storylines for the rest of Spring Training and into the regular season.