PHILLIES

Bryce Harper sore after shot, hopes to play Wednesday or Thursday

PHILLIES

As expected, hot-hitting Bryce Harper was not in the Phillies’ starting lineup when the team opened a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night.

Harper had a medical procedure on his injured right elbow Sunday. He was feeling some lingering discomfort from the procedure on Tuesday but hoped to be ready to play Wednesday or Thursday.

“I’m definitely a little sore,” Harper said. “I was sore yesterday. We’ll see what I feel like (Wednesday) and go from there.”

Harper has a small tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. He had a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in Los Angeles on Sunday. He and his doctors hope the procedure speeds healing and allows him to throw at some point later in the season. Until then, he hopes to continue to manage the injury while continuing to serve as the team’s designated hitter. He has been the team’s primary DH since April 17 and is hitting .354 with eight homers, 20 RBIs and a 1.111 OPS in 25 games in that role.

“The biggest thing is I can hit as of right now,” Harper said. “So we’re going to take our time with it, make sure it heals properly and hopefully (the PRP injection) takes.”

Harper won’t throw for a month so it’s going to take at least that long to determine if the PRP injection is having any positive effect.

If the tear does not heal on its own, Harper could be looking at surgery after the season, earlier if the condition worsens. Teammate Rhys Hoskins suffered a partial tear of his left (non-throwing) UCL late in the 2020 season. He had a surgical procedure called an internal brace in October 2020 and was ready for opening day 2021.

 

Harper is being treated by orthopedic surgeon Neal ElAttrache, who also cared for Los Angeles Angels star pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani when he suffered a torn UCL in 2018. Ohtani had a full blown UCL replacement (Tommy John surgery) in October of that year but was able to continue hitting while he took a year off from throwing.

Ohtani and Harper both won the MVP award in their respective leagues last year.

“I’m going to listen to what ElAttrache has to say and what he said,” Harper said. “I’m going to take my time with it like he told me and really take advantage of the PRP shot.

“He has no desire to tell me that I can’t hit. He kind of went through the same thing with Ohtani being able to DH and play through kind of what he had. I’m very lucky that it’s not my left arm. That’s the way that Rhys kind of went through with his right arm and his top hand going through the ball. I don’t feel it when I hit. So I’m very lucky with that. Like I said, as of right now, we’re just going to stick with DHing and see how I feel each day. When I’m about to throw, you guys will all know. I’ll be very open with it like I have been, so you guys will definitely know.”

Nick Castellanos served as the DH on Tuesday night. The Phillies used Roman Quinn in center field, Odubel Herrera in right field and Kyle Schwarber in left field.

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