3 pitches in, Bryce Harper makes his presence felt


Three pitches into his first plate appearance of spring training, Bryce Harper went deep. 

Harper hit a two-run, opposite-field home run off of Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl in the bottom of the first Friday.

Harper’s bomb was preceded by a sharp single in between first and second base from Didi Gregorius. 

Harper, who dealt with a back injury late last season, played in his first game as the DH Friday. He said he expects to play Sunday in Tampa against the Yankees and could be in the field late next week. The back issue affected his throwing most and he is on a throwing program, having worked up to 140 feet.

"I’ll probably throw to bases tomorrow, Tuesday or Wednesday," Harper said. "Once I do that and feel good about it ... I’m trying to re-learn my throwing motion, too. Arm feels good, that action feels fine, back feels fine. But there were a couple things in my legs that were causing me to have a little bit of pain in my back as well.

"Hopefully should be ready to go late next week to get in the field and play the game."

The Phils’ offense has been hot early in camp, obviously in games that for most, matter only for shaking off rust for the regular season. They played a crisp game Thursday in beating the Yankees 15-0 in Clearwater.

Chase Anderson got the start for the Phillies Friday. He threw eight pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning and 10 pitches in a 1-2-3 second, striking out two. He was followed by Spencer Howard, who hit 96 mph on the radar gun a handful of times in a strong inning of work.

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