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Bryce Harper offers to fill in at catcher


Thanks to a postgame Zoom slip-up from Jean Segura, the outside world knows that J.T. Realmuto is dealing with a shoulder issue. He and manager Joe Girardi downplayed the severity of the injury to the media before Saturday’s game. The plan is to have Realmuto play first base on Sunday.

Bryce Harper leads all of MLB in OPS. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire),

The Phillies’ catching options are short at the moment with Andrew Knapp out for a minimum of 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. It could become worse if Realmuto’s shoulder soreness intensifies and he has to go on the injured list. Rafael Marchan is slated to start behind the plate on Sunday.

Could Bryce Harper see some time at catcher? Probably not, but according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the Phillies star slugger offered to play the catcher’s position for Girardi’s Phillies.

“I don’t really see myself doing that,” Girardi said on the possibility of using Harper as a catcher.

Harper was a catcher as an amateur, but following his selection as the No. 1 overall pick in 2010 by the Washington Nationals, he was moved to the outfield as a way to both accelerate his arrival to the big leagues and ensure that he can remain focused on the offensive portion of his game.

It’s not the first time Harper has showed off his positional flexibility. During last season’s summer camp, Harper spent some time at third base for the heck of it during an intrasquad scrimmage. He fielded a couple ground balls behind Aaron Nola.

The likelihood of Harper leaving the outfield in the near future is slim. Perhaps he’ll become a full-time DH in the back end of his 13-year-deal. He finished as a gold-glove finalist in his first season as a Phillie but this year, it’s been a struggle in the field for Harper. He’s posted a -5 outs above average in right field, but his deficiencies in the outfield are far outweighed by the impact of his bat. Harper currently leads the majors in OPS (1.001).

Maybe one inning at catcher in the year 2030 is a possibility.

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