Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber will soon return to the Phillies lineup.
The Philadelphia Phillies continue to stay afloat in the Wild Card standings, despite not having Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber in their starting lineup.
Other than a pinch-hit appearance during Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets, the National League home runs leader has been sidelined since last Thursday with a right calf strain. The reigning National League MVP, meanwhile, has been on the injured list for the past nearly two months following surgery on his fractured left thumb.
Prior to Tuesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury provided an intriguing update on when the duo — who combined have slugged just a homer shy of 50 so far in 2022 — could make their long-awaited return.
Regarding Schwarber, Salisbury noted that the eight-year veteran is “feeling better” and could be seen on the field Tuesday doing agility and running drills:
"“He took batting practice against the curveball machine early, and took regular batting practice. He is available for pinch-hitting duty tonight. Rob Thomson, though, revealed that he probably won’t play tomorrow. They’re going to try to be smart with this thing [and] really blow [the injury] out of there.”"
Given the Phillies have a regularly scheduled off day on Thursday — before embarking on an 11-game homestand against the New York Mets, Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates — the organization hopes to have Schwarber “back on the field” starting Friday, reports Salisbury:
"“It sounded like Thomson was fairly certain of that — that they’ll turn him loose Friday night against the Mets.”"
Harper — who took 60 swings during a batting practice session on Monday — is slated to begin a minor-league rehab assignment next week.
Salisbury reported that the seven-time All-Star had a “recovery day” on Tuesday, before adding that the Phillies have been “leery” to offer a timetable on his return … until now:
"“Rob Thomson actually revealed that they hope to get him out on a rehab assignment around the 24th of August — which is next Wednesday. Lehigh Valley, Reading, and Jersey Shore are all at home.”"
If Harper continues to progress well, the baseball scribe envisions him possibly returning at some point during the Phillies’ six-game road trip against the Arizona Diamondbacks (August 29-31) and San Francisco Giants (September 2-4). September is the more probable return date for the Las Vegas native, but him possibly returning a series earlier in late August would surely be an added bonus. When Harper does come back, he will be used as a designated hitter for the remainder of the season.
Unfortunately, while Schwarber and Harper are on the mend, the Phillies may be down another player for an extended period — the recently acquired Brandon Marsh. The former Los Angeles Angels outfielder hurt himself when leaping to try to rob a home run against the Reds on Tuesday. Thankfully, Marsh was able to walk off the field with an athletic trainer.
As the Philadelphia Eagles motto that helped them win a Super Bowl once said: “Next man up.”