The Phillies haven’t given a firm timeline for Bryce Harper’s return from Tommy John surgery other than some time around the All-Star break in mid-July.
There were early indications that Harper might return sooner than that, perhaps in June or early July, but the team and player were careful to provide an exact date because of the way different bodies heal, the potential for relapse and the relative rarity. Tommy John surgery for a center player.
Interestingly, Dave Dombrowski said on 94WIP The Morning Show Tuesday that the Phillies will not put Harper on the 60-day injured list, at least for now. Doing so would prevent him from returning until at least May 29.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Harper will return before May 29, but the Phillies are at least considering the possibility for now.
“The way we look at this, we’re not going to put him on the emergency injured list which will keep him out until May 29th because we’re going to keep our options open and hope he comes back,” Phillies president of baseball operations told Joe DeCamara and John Ritchie. “If you put it in place, it definitely means it’s not (again before May 29th). But you’d at least want to keep your options open in this case.
“He’s doing a great job. He’s going forward, swinging the bat without pain, so he’s making all the moves. I think in our situation, we’re constantly saying we expect him before the All-Star Game, which we think will happen. Do I hope he’s back before that sure, no doubt about it.” that “.
Whether the Phillies think there is a 5 percent chance of Harper returning before Memorial Day or a 50 percent chance, they face no urgency to put him on the 60-day injured list either way. They can do so at any time and push back the 60-day period of international work to opening day, March 30. The only benefit of doing so is freeing up a spot on the 40-man roster, but that’s only a consideration if the Phillies feel they need to add someone who isn’t currently on it. One of those players is Base 5, pick Noah Song. Scott Kingry could be someone else if he did something to really force the Phillies’ hand. But even then, there are trimmable players on the 40-man roster like pitcher James McArthur or whoever of the Erich Uelmen-Andrew Vasquez-Luis Ortiz combo is lowest in that category.
When Harper returns, he’ll be like the Phillies’ designated hitter. Throwing is the last piece in his rehab and the Phils won’t rush him in this aspect. There is simply no need for it. They will use a rotating staff of Darick Hall, Rhys Hoskins, JT Realmuto, Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber in the DH spot until Harper returns. When he does, it will have him until the end of 2023, most likely.
“As far as playing the field, I have no idea,” Dombrowski said. “He’ll start pitching here in another month or so, but I’m not interested in that at this point. It would be nice if he could get out this year but as long as we get his bat in the middle of the lineup, we’re (not) worried about the pitch.”
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