Bryce Harper Injured with Slight UCL Tear

Bryce Harper
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The Philadelphia Phillies got some potentially worrisome news on Thursday. It’s been announced that Bryce Harper is injured with a slight tear of his right UCL. Harper has not played the field since mid-April due to aggravation in his throwing arm. However, the injury has not prevented Harper from serving as the Phillies designated hitter. For the time being, the Phillies plan on keeping him in the DH role, though he may miss a game or two.

Bryce Harper Injured

According to Phillies beat reporter Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, manager Joe Girardi said the tear was initially discovered last week. A subsequent doctor’s visit confirmed the tear on Thursday. This news means Harper cannot throw for at least four more weeks. Coffey also tweeted that the team plans to give Harper a PFP injection on Sunday. This will cause him to miss Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and, potentially, Tuesday’s game against the San Diego Padres.

On the bright side, Harper is unlikely to be out long term. If the injection works, he should be back at DH by next week. Once he begins throwing again in several weeks, he should be able to return to right field, barring further injury. Another bit of good news is that Harper has been better at the plate this year when he doesn’t have to worry about playing the field. In eight games in right this year, he has only hit .143 with a homer, seven RBI, and a .663 OPS. But his 23 games at DH, most of which have come in the last three weeks, are a different story. In those games, Harper is hitting .308 with five homers, 12 RBI, and a .905 OPS. These figures are much more reflective of the MVP season Bryce enjoyed last year.

The biggest consequence for the Phillies here, most likely, is their defensive alignment. Surely, the Phils would much rather have Harper manning right field than Nick Castellanos. However, playing it safe by keeping Harper at DH for now is definitely a wise move. Whenever the term “UCL tear” arises in the baseball world, it can often spell doom. When it comes to outfielders, though, UCL injuries can be more manageable. Letting Harper DH should keep the Phillies afloat in the NL East.

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