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Bryce Harper left out of Saturday’s lineup with back tightness

Bryce Harper is out of the lineup Saturday. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

If the Philadelphia Phillies are to clinch their three-game weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, they’ll have to do so without Bryce Harper. 

The Phillies said Harper “woke up this morning with a little bit of tightness in his lower back,” per Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The announcement came shortly after Joe Girardi’s lineup was released for Saturday’s matchup, which featured Matt Joyce batting seventh and playing right field.

It’s not the first time Harper has dealt with back issues in his career. The Phillies’ slugger said his back bothered him so much toward the end of last season that he had trouble throwing, and the club accordingly eased him into action this spring training.

Harper is off to a mild start to the season, hitting .238 with an .825 OPS and two home runs. He squared up several balls in Friday’s win for an RBI double and two flyouts that may have found themselves in the seats if it weren’t for the wind at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies left him out of Saturday’s lineup as a precaution and he’s considered day-to-day, but given his history, violent swing and the 10 years remaining on his contract after 2021, his back issues are certainly worth monitoring going forward.


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