Bryce Harper tore his UCL in April, but with the designated hitter coming to the National League this past season, the Philadelphia Phillies used that to their advantage.
Harper helped lead the Phils to their first World Series appearance since 2009 as a DH.
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But now that the offseason is here, Harper decided to go under the knife and undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
NBC Sports Notes that Harper could return to a full-time DH role by mid-May, but that would cost him the first 40 games of the regular season.
Of course, the fact that he can DH helps him get back earlier—pitchers typically miss at least a full calendar year after surgery, and it’s not unusual for a pitcher to miss two full seasons. It doesn’t matter.
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Fortunately, we have Shohei Ohtani, who prepares AND DH to give us a glimpse of what Harper has in store.
Ohtani also underwent Tommy John treatment Had surgery in October 2018 and was able to start hitting in games in May 2019. So there’s a chance Harper returns to the Phillies in the same DH role before getting another shot at the outfield.
However, Ohtani didn’t pitch until 2020 – yet he only made two starts and went 1.2 innings. He suffered a flexor strain and was sidelined from pitching for the remainder of the season.
Harper was named the 2022 National League Championship Series MVP — he went 8-for-20 (.400) with two homers, including the pennant-winning Dungier, and five extra-base hits.
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The Phillies have others who can produce offensively, including Kyle Schwarber, if Harper should sit out. But there’s no doubt his presence in the lineup will be missed if his surgery delays the start of the season.
Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.