Bryce Harper knows it could have been so much worse.
He could have missed weeks.
His career could have ended just like that.
He could have been killed. Really. Because getting hit in the face with a 5.25-ounce, rock-hard horsehide sphere moving at 97 mph can ...
Well, let's not think about that.
Less than 48 hours after being hit in the face with a 97-mph fastball thrown by St. Louis Cardinals lefty Genesis Cabrera, Harper spoke with reporters via Zoom before Friday night's game against the New York Mets.
Harper's face did not reveal what he'd been through — incredibly, he is barely bruised — but his voice did.
"I'm just super excited and blessed to have this conversation with you guys right now," he said. "I'm just very thankful being able to come home to my family the other night and just being able to come to the ballpark today.
"My mom said, 'You must have had angels with you. They must have known what was going to happen.'"
The only injuries that Harper suffered were minor — a small cut on the side of his nose and a sore left wrist where the ball hit him after striking his cheek.
It's amazing that he suffered no broken bones in his face. Even the medical personnel that checked him out at the hospital in St. Louis were amazed.
"I'm just very blessed and fortunate to be where I am right now," he said. "I can't really explain it to you, right? I mean, I don't think anybody can. It just happened and it hit me and I'm just very lucky to be sitting here talking to you guys right now."
Harper sat out a second game in a row Friday night because the wrist was sore. He hopes to play Saturday night.
The moments after getting hit in the face Wednesday night were difficult, physically and emotionally.
"I was definitely in a lot of pain," he said. "Didn't sleep well that night at all. You know, the pain and then just the replaying in my mind of the situation, thinking that a couple inches up, or a couple inches over to either side and we might be having a different conversation.
"I was just very fortunate to be able to call my wife and tell her I was OK. And my family. Just very fortunate to be here."
Harper was able to leave the field under his own power after being hit.
"Then I got inside (the clubhouse) and it kind of hit me at that time," he said. "I was kind of emotional, a little upset about the situation and then a little emotional just because I was thinking about my kids, thinking about my wife. I think baseball kind of goes to the side in that moment, so you start thinking about bigger things, you start thinking about your family, your kids and what if, right?"
Harper awakened Thursday morning to a heartfelt text from Cardinals manager Mike Shildt.
Harper texted Shildt back and told him he was fine. He expressed concern for Cabrera, the pitcher who threw the pitch that could have done so much damage.
"I kind of reiterated that I understand, it happens, it's part of the game," Harper said. "I have no ill will toward (Cabrera). He didn't do it on purpose. And I just wanted to make sure he was OK. He's a young kid, a young pitcher, and that can definitely mess with somebody."
Harper told Shildt that he prayed for Cabrera and offered to speak with the pitcher if he wanted.
On Thursday, Shildt called Harper "classy" and said people should "support that guy."
It could have been worse.
Harper might play for the Phillies but on Wednesday night, the angels were with him, just like his mother said.