It won’t be too much longer before Bryce Harper returns to the Phillies lineup.
The Philadelphia Phillies‘ reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper has not played since June 25 — when he was hit on a high-and-inside fastball from San Diego Padres pitcher Blake Snell, causing him to suffer a fractured left thumb.
Since then, Harper earned his first All-Star nod in a Phillies uniform — the seventh of his career — but has been sidelined, eager to return and help the club to its first postseason berth in more than a decade.
Monday’s promising news can help make that wish a reality for Harper and his Wild Card-hopeful team. According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, the Las Vegas native had the pins removed from his surgically-repaired left thumb.
While it’s a week later than what the Phillies hoped for the pins to be removed, Harper is still in line to return before the end of August. He will now proceed with rehabilitation.
Before, his injury Harper was among the National League MVP candidates — despite being a full-time designated hitter, as he was dealing with a right elbow injury. In 64 games and 275 plate appearances this season, Harper slugged 21 doubles, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI, while striking out only 52 times.
Now, the Phillies have just 60 games remaining on their schedule and currently are in sole possession of the third National League Wild Card spot. Harper could return with about half those games remaining, including what will be a 10-game road trip to close out the regular season opposite the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, and Houston Astros.
Kyle Schwarber’s National League-best 33 home runs certainly have filled the power void with Harper absent from the lineup since late June. Yet, there won’t be a single fan complaining when he ultimately returns to the lineup in the coming weeks. Until then, all fingers are crossed.