ATLANTA -- Bryce Harper has already vowed that he'll be back as the Phillies' designated hitter this season.
But will he be able to play right field?
“We’re hoping,” manager Rob Thomson said Wednesday. “No guarantee.”
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Harper had the surgical pins removed from his broken left thumb on Monday and he’s already ramped up his baseball activities. While the team has been on the road in Atlanta, Harper has been working out back at Citizens Bank Park.
“He’s dry swinging, doing some tee work, playing catch,” Thomson said.
Back in April, Harper injured his right elbow making a throw in the outfield. He was diagnosed with a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. The injury prevented him from throwing and he moved to designated hitter and filled that role until June 25 when a pitch from San Diego’s Blake Snell broke his left thumb.
The thumb has healed – and the elbow is improving enough that Harper is able to throw up to 60 feet. It’s a start.
“He’s not throwing hard,” Thomson said. “It’s more like playing catch. But he’s not feeling any pain.”
It’s still not clear whether Harper will require offseason surgery on the elbow. More will be known as he continues to increase his throwing activity.
In the meantime, Thomson said Harper’s thumb is feeling good.
“The flexibility is coming,” he said.
Though there is no official timetable for Harper’s return, there is quiet hope around the team that he could be back before the end of the month.