Sunday, August 14, 2022

Bryce Harper injury update: Phillies star will reportedly undergo thumb surgery, likely out at least six weeks

Philadelphia Phillies slugger and reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper suffered a fractured left thumb Saturday night against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Harper took a 97-mph Blake Snell fastball to the hand and exited the game immediately. The Phillies announced the fracture soon thereafter. 

According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, Harper will need surgery. There is optimism that Harper will return after a recovery time of six or so weeks, per the report. Harper was scheduled to meet with specialists in Philadelphia early this week.

Here’s video of the errant pitch. Snell apologized and, although in obvious pain and understandably upset, Harper appeared to tell Snell he knows he didn’t hit him intentionally as he walked off the field.

The Phillies officially placed Harper on the 10-day injured list on Sunday. Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Mickey Moniak will take his place on the roster. 

Harper has been limited to DH duty most of the season by an elbow ligament injury. Nonetheless, he was having a fantastic season, and took a .320/.385/.602 batting line with 21 doubles and 15 home runs into Saturday’s game. He ranks seventh in baseball in extra-base hits (37) and eighth in total bases (145). Simply put, Harper is irreplaceable.

“Things happen for a reason,” Harper told reporters, including MLB.com, after the game. “Everybody says that. This reason sucks right now, but at the same time, it is what it is. I’ve got to be positive. I’ve got to be positive for the guys in here. I know they’ll pick up the slack. I’m just really bummed for the organization, the guys, the city of Philadelphia, the fans. I love running out there and playing every day. Definitely bummed.”

Harper was having one of the best seasons of his career, despite playing since mid-April with a torn UCL in his right arm. He was batting .318 with 15 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .984 OPS. He ranks fifth in the NL in batting average, sixth in on-base percentage (.385) and second in slugging percentage (.599).

“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “But they’re not going to cancel any games. We’ve got to play.”

In the interim, the Phillies figure to have Kyle Schwarber or Nick Castellanos share DH duty with the more defensively competent Matt Vierling seeing steadier playing time in the outfield. Moniak, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, is hitting .279/.326/.558 in Triple-A and could get a look. Of course, the Phillies could make a trade depending on the length of Harper’s recovery.

Needless to say, losing Harper for any length of time is a devastating blow for a Phillies team trying to climb into the postseason mix. They are 17-6 since replacing manager Joe Girardi with bench coach Rob Thomson earlier this month. Among National League teams, only the Atlanta Braves (have a better record in the league during that time. Sportsline projects the Phillies chances of making the playoffs at 22.4% if Harper is sidelined until Aug. 30.

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