Major League Baseball
Bryce Harper may bypass minor-league rehab assignment in return to Phillies
Major League Baseball

Bryce Harper may bypass minor-league rehab assignment in return to Phillies

Updated Apr. 15, 2023 8:24 p.m. ET

There is still no publicly available timetable for when Philadelphia Phillies superstar Bryce Harper will return from Tommy John surgery, but more and more details are emerging about what his return will look like.

On the heels of a report that Harper will attempt to play first base in order to help the team fill the absence of Rhys Hoskins, who tore his ACL in spring training, Phillies manager Rob Thomson told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Saturday that Harper may return without even taking a minor-league rehab assignment.

Harper has not played in a competitive baseball game since the 2022 World Series after undergoing the surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow last November. Harper initially suffered the injury in May 2022 but remained with the Phillies throughout the season as a designated hitter, since the injury did not impede his ability to swing a bat.

The 30-year-old superstar then led Philadelphia on an unlikely run to the National League pennant and won 2022 NL Championship Series MVP following his dramatic go-ahead home run in the clinching game.

Thomson admitted to reporters earlier this week that Harper could probably see game action as a hitter at this point, but he still needs to be cleared to slide and, eventually, throw again. Additional motivation for Harper to attempt playing first base is that his throwing ability is not nearly as important at that position as it is in Harper's natural position of right field, thus allowing him to potentially return sooner.

[Bryce Harper takes on-field batting practice for first time since surgery]

It is unusual for players coming off major surgery such as Tommy John to not take a rehab assignment before rejoining their big-league clubs. But Harper is considered one of the most skilled hitters of his generation, and Thomson pointed out that advances in virtual reality technology that many teams now use to enhance batting practices could help Harper mimic facing MLB opponents as he works his way back.

Harper, a two-time National League MVP award winner, is in the fifth year of a 13-year, $330 million contract that he signed with the Phillies just before the 2019 season.

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Bryce Harper
Philadelphia Phillies

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