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Phillies Notes: Harper scheduled for PRP injection, Eflin and leadoff spot carousel


Bryce Harper is out of Sunday’s lineup following a PRP injection. (Cheryl Pursell)

LOS ANGELES — The Philadelphia Phillies’ quest to earn an improbable four-game road sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers will conclude without the team’s hottest hitter, who helped power the first three victories in L.A.: Bryce Harper.

Harper received a platelet-rich plasma injection to treat a small UCL tear in his right elbow, which has kept him as the designated hitter and out of the field for the last couple weeks — and for the foreseeable future. Harper will start a throwing program in four weeks.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi said he’s unsure whether Harper will be out for two or three days as a result of the injection — that is, whether he’ll only miss Sunday’s game, or whether he’ll be out of the lineup on Tuesday as well, following Monday’s off day. 

As of approximately 11:20 a.m. local time, Girardi said he was unsure whether Harper had actually received the shot yet but that he was scheduled to have it in the morning.

Harper has been on fire the last week-and-a-half, and especially the first three games against the Dodgers, in which he combined to go 8-for-12 with four doubles, three homers and two walks. In the last nine games overall, Harper is hitting .500 with a 1.648 OPS. 

Girardi said it wasn’t much of a consideration to delay the shot a few days to keep him in the lineup until he somewhat comes back down to earth.

“It’s what we scheduled, planned, comfortable with it,” Girardi said, “so we just stuck with the plan.”

Just a day off for Realmuto

Garrett Stubbs is in the lineup for Sunday’s finale, batting ninth and catching starter Aaron Nola. It’s nothing to be concerned about, though, with regard to regular starter J.T. Realmuto — just a normal day off.

Realmuto has caught all of the last three games for the Phillies, including a 3:29-affair on Thursday and a 10-inning, 4:18-mini-marathon on Friday. He figures to be available to pinch hit, but he’ll have Sunday as well as Monday’s off day without catching duties (barring a late-game substitution) before the Phillies return home Tuesday.

“Two really long games — a little shorter game yesterday, but just, day game after a night game,” Girardi said. “And it wasn’t an early start either yesterday. So it gives him two days.” 

Girardi open to fiddling with the leadoff spot

For the second consecutive game, and third out of four overall, Rhys Hoskins is back in the leadoff spot. He’s gone a combined 4-for-9 at leadoff in L.A., including a 3-for-4 performance in Saturday’s 8-3 win. (Whether notable or not, the one out came leading off the ballgame, but he also led off a three-run third inning with a single.) 

Girardi said Harper’s absence changed the complexion of Sunday’s lineup. Without Harper, Kyle Schwarber slots into the No. 3 spot, facing right-hander Michael Grove — who’s making his Major League debut. 

“If we have a righty, my plan is — now, I could change my mind — is to put Schwarbs first,” Girardi said. “But with Harp out, we just did it that way.” 

The leadoff spot has been somewhat of a revolving door this season, with Schwarber, Hoskins, Realmuto, Jean Segura, Odúbel Herrera and Alec Bohm all batting first at some point. That might be more names than would ideally figure into a regular rotation, but Girardi indicated he’s not necessarily married to the idea of having one guy for the leadoff spot day in and day out.

“I don’t mind platooning the spot,” Girardi said. “I mean, obviously you feel comfortable having a set lineup. But if you have a set lineup versus right-handers and a set lineup versus left-handers, I mean, they’re still set lineups, in a sense. It’s just a little bit different.”

  • Girardi also said that right-hander Zach Eflin is still on track for his planned Tuesday return. Eflin was placed on the COVID-19 injured list May 8. 
  • Alec Bohm is Sunday’s designated hitter, batting second. Girardi said he had several different ideas for DH — naming Schwarber and Nick Castellanos — but that he just decided to go with Bohm. “We’re thinking about guys that have played every game,” Girardi said. “We just chose Bohm.”

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