Fans all across Phillies Nation are breathing a massive sigh of relief this morning. Per numerous reports, all x-rays on Bryce Harper’s right ankle have come back negative.
The 26-year-old superstar is officially being listed as day-to-day. However, Harper will miss Saturday’s game in Clearwater against the Houston Astros. His scheduled participation in Sunday’s game against the New York Yankees also has to be considered questionable at this point.
Harper was injured when he was drilled by a 96 mph fastball from Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Trent Thornton with two outs in the bottom of the 6th inning at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.
Harper would ideally like to get between 40-50 plate appearances during Grapefruit League action in order to be fully ready to open the regular season. However, that is going to now become nearly impossible.
To date, Harper has accumulated just nine plate appearances over parts of four games. Still looking for his first hit in a Phillies uniform, he is 0-5 with three walks and the hit-by-pitch, two runs scored, and a stolen base to this point.
Originally scheduled to play in all three games this weekend, there is now the very real chance that Friday will be the only one in which he participates.
The Phillies are scheduled to cross the state of Florida for a pair of games on Monday and Tuesday against the Cardinals and Astros. That was a trip that Harper was not likely to make prior to this incident. He is still unlikely to travel with the team for those games.
Bottom line, we may not see Harper play again until Wednesday afternoon back in Clearwater against the Detroit Tigers. If that proves true it would mean he will see no more than six more games. Even if he is able to play in all of those and averages three plate appearances in each, he would end spring training with roughly 30 plate appearances in game action.
All X rays on Bryce Harper are negative. He will not play today as precaution. He is day to day.
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) March 16, 2019
Per Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler stated “I don’t have concerns about him not being ready for Opening Day.”
If we can assume that Harper is indeed okay and will be able to play by the middle of next week, and that he would then see mostly regular game action over the final week of Grapefruit League play, then he should indeed be in the Phillies lineup for Opening Day on March 28th at Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves. How “ready” he will be is debatable.
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