On June 25, Bryce Harper was playing baseball on a warm San Diego summer night. He was at the plate, staring down pitcher Blake Snell, when an inside pitch goes awry and misses his face by centimeters, instead hitting his hand. When Harper got on his feet, the true severity of the injury became apparent, as his hand began quivering in pain while Harper was visibly disgruntled.
After evaluation, it was learned that Harper had broken his left thumb. This would require surgery, and an indefinite absence from playing baseball. This injury came on top of a UCL injury that had already limited Bryce Harper to being the DH, taking him away from playing right field every day.
He was so dominant as a designated hitter, he was voted in as the first ever starting designated hitter on the National League All-Star team.
While it feels like ages ago, this event occurred just two months ago. The outlook for the rest of the season looked bleak for the Phillies after losing their MVP for a significant amount of time. However, the Phillies have risen above the adversity, and are in a prime position to make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
The Phillies also have players like Brandon Marsh and Seranthony Dominguez out for a period of time, as well as Zach Eflin and Corey Knebel being shut down for the season, Bryce Harper’s return will be more valuable than any trade they could’ve made at the deadline, and his returning presence will be monumental to any potential playoff run.
Now, with the Phillies entering the home stretch, Bryce Harper’s return is imminent. He has been taking batting practice at CBP, and making major progress. Harper himself told reporters in an interview that his thumb is “at 85%-90% strength.”
Harper will begin his rehab assignment in Lehigh Valley Tuesday, and will play up to Saturday. He’ll take an off day Sunday, then may return to the big league club on Monday, but will only be allowed to DH as he will not be able to play right field for the remainder of the season.
The Phillies will receive a major jolt to their playoff run extremely soon, and it will be a treat to see Harper launch baseballs into the Philadelphia night once again.