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Why Bryce Harper won’t be playing the outfield anytime soon

Bryce Harper played catch on Tuesday to test out his injured right elbow. While Harper is not calling it a setback, the Phillies outfielder said his elbow “felt achy.”

Bryce Harper’s elbow reportedly “felt achy” during a throwing session on Tuesday. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

“I don’t think there’s really a timetable of when I’m going to play,” Harper told the media, including Todd Zolecki of, after Tuesday’s game. “Just trying to get my at-bats and have good at-bats.”

Even if Harper’s brief throwing session went well, he wasn’t expected to play right field until after the Phillies’ next off day on May 3 at the earliest. He’ll need to ramp up again before returning to right field.

For now, the Phillies will continue to pencil in Harper as the team’s designated hitter. Harper, who hits as a lefty but throws right handed, is not bothered by the elbow when he swings. The universal DH is the only thing keeping Harper in the lineup and off the injured list.

“We’re itching to have him back,” manager Joe Girardi said before Monday’s game against Colorado. “I think it allows for us to set up a little better rotation with all our guys.”

The downside to Harper exclusively occupying the DH spot for weeks at a time is that it does not give Girardi and the Phillies the option to rotate Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos to give them a break from the outfield. Considering that the alternative is to be without Harper’s bat until his elbow heals, they’re content with the issue.

An MRI revealed last week that Harper has a mild strain in the flexor tendon of his right elbow. He has not played in the outfield since April 16 in Miami. His elbow began to bother him after making a throw to home during an April 11 comeback win against the Mets.

“It’s a strain, so it’s going to take time,” Harper said. “I’ve never dealt with anything like this. I’m not really sure. Like I said, we’re going to re-evaluate tomorrow. I’m going to keep DH-ing and we’ll go from there.”


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Steve

    April 29, 2022 at 10:17 am

    The DH helps!

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