Philadelphia Phillies star slugger Bryce Harper to undergo elbow surgery

Phillies star slugger Bryce Harper will need surgery on his injured elbow.

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper played just a handful of games in right field due to an early-season injury he sustained on a throw.

Luckily for the Phillies, the National League adopted the designated hitter position before the season, so Harper was still able to contribute at the plate. The reigning National League Most Valuable Player went on to slash .286/.364/.514 in 2022. He also was a postseason star, posting a 1.160 OPS with six home runs.

According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski announced on Wednesday that Harper will undergo surgery next week to repair his ulnar collateral ligament. The team is unsure whether Harper will require Tommy John surgery, so his timetable to return is still unclear.

Even if the 2022 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player does need to have Tommy John, his recovery time would not be the usual 12 to 18 months timeframe that pitchers usually need.

Zolecki cites Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who was able to return as a designated hitter in about seven months of recovery time. So, while it would not be ideal for Harper to have Tommy John surgery, the Las Vegas native would be able to return by May or June 2023 if all goes well.

The Phillies and their fans certainly hope that Harper’s recovery time is less than that and that he will not require major surgery. While the Phillies were able to win games last season when Harper went on the injured list with a broken thumb, the club would surely prefer to have the star offensive player in the lineup as much as possible.