The Philadelphia Phillies lineup is receiving a major boost on Tuesday night as Bryce Harper will be activated from the injured list and serve as the designated hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The two-time National League MVP underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow this past offseason and was originally projected to be back around the All-Star break. However, Harper had long looked at the Dodgers series as his target return.
“I wanted to give myself the earliest I could in my mind, the understanding to work towards something to get out there,” Harper said.
“It could’ve been the middle of April. It could’ve been the end of May, early May. But I wanted to put my mind on something to really take advantage of that. I really tried to do everything I could to get to this point.
“It’s been a grind, coming in each day, on the field or in [the trainer’s room], just understanding my body and how I feel, and where I can push myself mentally and physically.”
Most players who undergo Tommy John surgery typically return to action within a year, but Harper was cleared to play after just 159 days. Despite the quick turnaround, he is not concerned with the possibility of re-injuring his elbow.
“Whenever you’re having major surgery, anything can happen; a tag on me, or I slide into a bag, or anything,” Harper began. “But I got word [Monday] that it wouldn’t matter right now today or in two months. We would’ve been in the same spot.
“We’re healed to where I need to be, and we’re just going to play the game smart, play it the right way and not push the craziness of how I kind of play. But understanding that I help my team when I’m on the field, not when I’m off the field.”
Harper will initially be limited to designated hitter duties but he has been working out at first base since the middle of April and presumably will play there when he is cleared to start throwing regularly.
Bryce Harper was ‘big factor’ in Trea Turner signing with Phillies
Trea Turner went 1-for-4 in his first game back at Dodger Stadium since signing an 11-year, $300 million contract with the Phillies, receiving boos from Dodgers fans for each of his at-bats.
While Turner was open to re-signing with the Dodgers, he said Harper played a big role in him joining the Phillies.
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