Phillies Injury Update

Harper says he's fine, expects to return Monday after scheduled day off

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Bryce Harper's scary fall into the camera well in the Phillies' dugout in the first inning of Saturday's 12-4 loss was not the reason he was out of Sunday's lineup.

At least not the primary reason.

Sunday was a planned day off for Harper, Phillies manager Rob Thomson said two hours before their series finale against the Braves.

"Just really, it was a scheduled day off anyway just because he hasn't played much in spring," he said. "Then he falls into the camera well.

"It was kind of a planned thing. He hasn't played much at the end of spring training. He only played two games in the last eight days or whatever.

"I haven't seen him today but he felt pretty good last night."

Harper scraped his left hand on the play but remained in the game for seven innings. He was removed to begin the top of the eighth because the game was out of hand. He is expected to return to the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Reds and left-hander Andrew Abbott.

"I feel fine," Harper said after Sunday's comeback win. "I think Topper told you guys it was a scheduled day off. I think going into spring training, didn’t get the reps that I needed there. What happened yesterday I don’t think had any bearing on today. Definitely looking forward to getting back in there tomorrow. I feel good."

The decision for the Phillies to sit Harper against their top division rival after two ugly games to start the season obviously looked curious. Harper, though, did not appear in any Grapefruit League games from March 14 through March 23 as he dealt with back stiffness. He was busy throughout camp, working out early in the morning every day at his new position, first base, on the half field in Clearwater with infield coach Bobby Dickerson and starting nine of their 14 games the first two weeks of March. He returned to the lineup for the final three spring games.

"Trying to take care of them, one," Thomson said of why Harper and Bryson Stott were out of the lineup against Chris Sale. "We've got two days off in the first month. So it's like spring training without the extra 44 players. And with the lefty matchup, we think get other guys in and just protect them. They don't necessarily need the day off."

The matchup with Sale likely played a role. He's one of the funkiest, toughest lefties in the game and he's held same-handed hitters to a career .203/.256/.278 batting line.

"It's the stuff, the arm slot and the sweeping slider. Against right-handers, it starts way outside the plate and comes back into the plate. You really have to be able to gauge that and when you don't see it a whole lot, it can be tough," Thomson said. "But we've got the (pitch trajectory machine) downstairs. We try to hook that thing up and get as many looks as we can."

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