The Phillies' worst-case scenario played out Saturday night as Bryce Harper suffered a fractured left thumb and is out indefinitely.
Harper was hit in the thumb by a 97 mph Blake Snell fastball in the fourth inning in San Diego. He immediately fell to the ground, clutching his left hand and writhing in pain. Visibly frustrated, Harper said something to Snell, who was apologetic and replied that it was unintentional. Harper shouted back to Snell that he knew it was not on purpose.
He will be re-evaluated in the coming days to determine the path to recovery and whether surgery is required.
Harper is as irreplaceable as any player in baseball. The Phillies just got a taste of it earlier this week when they scored a combined five runs in three games he missed with a blister. Harper has again been one of the best hitters in baseball, entering Saturday's game hitting .320/.385/.602 with 21 doubles, 15 homers and 48 RBI despite missing nine games. He has six more extra-base hits than anyone in the majors since last year's All-Star break.
"It's tough, the year he's having, the person he is," Kyle Schwarber said on the broadcast postgame. "It's a tough blow but we're going to have to overcome it. It's obviously going to be tough but I think that this ballclub can handle that type of blow. We've got a lot of good players and we've got to step up one by one and not do too much, just be ourselves, but when guys' numbers are called, we've got to answer the bell."
It's been another trying but productive year for the reigning MVP. He hasn't been able to throw or play the field since the second week of the season because of a small tear in his UCL. He was set to have the elbow re-examined next week. He also missed time earlier this week after a blister on his hand became infected.
The result of Saturday's game, a 4-2 Phillies win, was almost an afterthought in light of Harper's injury. The Phils will need more from several hitters, specifically Nick Castellanos, who has fallen short of expectations to this point. They are also without Jean Segura, who is out until early September after breaking his finger on a bunt attempt.
The trade deadline is a little more than five weeks away and the Phillies could set their sights on an outfielder or DH. In the meantime, Mickey Moniak is on his way back to the big leagues.
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