Prior to Friday’s game against the Cleveland Guardians, a plethora of roster moves were made, ultimately opening up first base for Bryce Harper to play in the field for the first time since April 16, 2022, when he batted third and started in right field versus the Miami Marlins in a 10-3 Phillies victory.
In 2022, Harper tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and he returned to the Phillies as a DH for the end of the 2022 regular and postseason. In the offseason, Harper got Tommy John surgery before the 2023 regular season and made an unexpectedly-early return on May 2. Since then, he has been serving as the Phillies’ designated hitter.
In 234 at-bats this season, Harper is batting .295 and has a .803 OPS, four home runs, and 26 RBI. The Phillies’ lefty slugger experienced a power outage that lasted from May 26 to July 14, the longest homer-less span of his entire MLB career.
Harper has been practicing first base with Phillies infield coach Bobby Dickerson over the last few weeks, and Rob Thomson said that he will not be playing first base every day for the time being.
Harper began familiarizing himself with first base when Rhys Hoskins was put on the 60-day IL during Spring Training. At the time, no one could have foreseen Harper ever playing first base for the Phils. However, with Kyle Schwarber posting an MLB-worst -15 OAA and Darick Hall and Kody Clemens struggling to produce offensively, an opportunity arose for Harper, and knowing his style of play, he will definitely make the most out of it.
Here is the rest of the Phillies’ lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber LF
- Trea Turner SS
- Nick Castellanos RF
- Bryce Harper 1B
- J.T. Realmuto C
- Bryson Stott 2B
- Alec Bohm 3B
- Brandon Marsh CF
- Jake Cave LF
Ranger Suarez (LHP, 2-4, 3.84 ERA)
In other roster moves, the Phillies reinstated infielder Josh Harrison from the injured list, recalled outfielder Jake Cave from triple-A Lehigh Valley, and optioned first baseman Darick Hall and infielder Drew Ellis to triple-A Lehigh Valley.