Bryce Harper met with his surgeon Monday, a month to the day his left thumb was broken in San Diego by a Blake Snell fastball, but it had not healed enough for the pins to be removed.
There was a chance they could have been, sending Harper to the next stage of his rehab, but instead, he'll be re-evaluated next Monday, August 1.
"Everything's on the right path, everything's going good, it's just not where we want it to be at this point to be able to pull the pins and be successful with it," Harper said prior to Monday's series opener between the Phillies and Braves. "So hopefully another week will get us there, but right now we're just not there yet."
Harper again did not want to provide a timeline for his return. Late August or early September would seem to be the most realistic range.
He's essentially going through an offseason routine right now, working out and receiving treatment.
"It's kinda weird because the rest of my body works so I can do everything, just can't use my thumb," he said. "In baseball, of course that's a big deal, can't swing a bat, can't put a glove on your hand.
"I come in every day and work out, get treatment on what I need, elbow, shoulder, keep all that going to be able to throw when I get these pins out of my hand."
When Harper returns, it will be as the Phillies' designated hitter. That's not because of the thumb but because of the strain in the flexor tendon of his throwing arm. Harper has been limited to DH duty since April 17, the Phillies' 10th game of the season.
"We'll be throwing when I get back," he said. "Once I get the pins out I can kind of -- I'm not allowed to sweat really right now just because the pins are sticking out of my hand so I can't get an infection, we have to be aware of that. But when I do get the pins out, we'll start progressing with that.
"That's another program I'd have to go through, a throwing program. Hopefully be in right field by the end of the year, playing out there and being successful throwing a baseball."
Initially, however, the goal is just to get back in the lineup as the DH.
The Phillies obviously miss Harper, who has reached new heights here individually. In nearly 900 plate appearances since the start of 2021, he's hit .312/.415/.610 with 50 homers, 63 doubles and 132 RBI. Over his first nine seasons, he hit .276 with an OPS 125 points lower.
The Phils went 8-4 in their first 12 games without Harper, thanks in large part to Kyle Schwarber, who hit seven homers and drove in 13 runs in the first nine games without the reigning NL MVP. But as Schwarber's bat has tailed off, so has the Phillies' offense. He is 4 for 51 over the last 13 games with three walks and 22 strikeouts. Schwarber has been held hitless in 10 of those games. The Phillies have lost seven of the last 10.
"If you take these last three games out of the way, I think we've been playing pretty clean, good baseball," Harper said. "We need to, as a team, get past these three days. That wasn't good baseball, everybody in here knows that. Get past those three games, turn the page to today and get going."