Phillies stars Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto will be 2023 Team USA teammates.
For as long as Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper has donned red pinstripes, he has played alongside fellow star slugger J.T. Realmuto.
Both joined the Phillies after the 2018 offseason that also saw the additions of outfielder Andrew McCutchen, shortstop Jean Segura, and reliever David Robertson, among others.
Harper signed his massive 13-year deal nearly a month after Realmuto was dealt to the Phillies from the Miami Marlins in exchange for catcher Jorge Alfaro, right-hander Sixto Sanchez, and a left-handed pitching prospect. After the 2020 season, Realmuto re-signed to a five-year deal.
Harper and Realmuto will continue to play for a long time as Phillies. However, next spring, they will briefly wear another uniform on the global stage. Just three days after Major League Baseball announced that the “Best Catcher in Baseball” will compete alongside captain Mike Trout for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, the league made a similar announcement that the reigning National League MVP will do the same.
Along with Harper, Realmuto, and Trout, other players who have committed to join Team USA in next year’s tournament include Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Trevor Story.
Harper being added to Team USA is not a surprise. However, considering Harper hasn’t been able to play right field for almost all of this season due to an elbow injury, one would think he would’ve missed some of spring training while recovering from offseason surgery.
Harper’s commitment to the World Baseball Classic, set for March 8-21, 2023, is excellent news. It likely means the elbow injury (separate from the fractured thumb that has prevented him from serving as the designated hitter) is not as serious as once thought. Harper might not need surgery after all. For now, per latest updates, Harper should return to the Phillies lineup sometime in September as the full-time DH.
While Phillies fans hoped Harper would become outfield teammates with Trout in Philadelphia, it appears they will finally get to see them play together — albeit instead for Team USA.