The Philadelphia Phillies infield is about to take on a new look when Bryce Harper makes his season debut at first base this week.
Per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, manager Rob Thompson confirmed that "Harper is likely to start at least one game against the Brewers at first base" during the Phillies' upcoming series at Citizens Bank Park. It's a welcome move that will give the team more flexibility with lineup construction for the rest of the season and possibly affect their plans for the Trade Deadline.
If you're planning on adjusting your schedule to go and watch Harper take the field for the first time this year, don't make any plans yet. Thompson didn't reveal in which of the three games the one-time outfielder would suit up at first.
Since returning to the Phillies' lineup on May 2, in what seems like super-human time following offseason Tommy John surgery, Harper has remained stuck in the DH spot while waiting for his elbow to fully recover to throwing strength.
Harper has been hitting at a .300 clip through 60 games this season, well above his career mark of .281. The home run power hasn't quite been there yet, with only four long balls on the season and a recently ended 38-game homer drought, but he has chipped in 37 runs and driven in 26 to go along with his six steals.
While having the seven-time All-Star slugger's bat back in the lineup has undoubtedly been a boon for the team, it's no secret that he has been working towards playing first base for some time.
The last time Harper played in the field was early last season on April 16, after which he filled the DH role as he battled elbow issues for the remainder of the year. Now 457 days later, the Phillies will get the two-time MVP back on the field.
If you're curious about his history playing first, there's not much to recount. According to Zolecki, Harper has appeared at first base twice, for a single batter each time. He manned the corner with the Nationals back in 2018 and then again in 2021 for his current club.
Eventually, Harper will make it back into the outfield, but just seeing him on the field with a glove will feel good for teammates and fans alike.