Jeff BassinESPN3 minutes to read
Two-time MVP Bryce Harper is back in action just five months after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his elbow, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN, and he is expected to rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday against the Dodgers.
Harper, 30, had Tommy John surgery on November 23 and was expected to be out until July. The schedule changed during spring training, when Harper’s recovery was going better than expected, and he accelerated in recent weeks to return two months ahead of schedule.
On Monday, Harper visited with Dr. Neil al-Atrash, who performed the surgery, to ensure he had medical clearance to return. After the date, Harper posted photos of himself in a Phillies uniform to Instagram with the caption, “Aye fam. Are you ready?”
If he was in the lineup, it would be 160 days after surgery — the fastest known return from Tommy John, a procedure to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The fastest returns are usually from position players—swinging a bat generally doesn’t jeopardize recovery in the same way pitching does—but Harper’s return speed to the Phillies broke the norm even for those not on the mound.
Philadelphia is expected to facilitate his return to the field, with a return in June or July—and possibly at first base, a position that was called into question by the Phillies after Reece Hoskins tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the spring. an exercise.
The Phillies, meanwhile, have recovered one of the best bats in the major leagues and the emotional leader of a team that delivered an upset to the World Series in 2022.
Over 11 major league seasons, Harper hit .280/.390/.523 with 285 home runs and 817 RBIs. After being named MVP in 2021, he hit .286/.364/.514 with 18 home runs in 99 games last year. In addition to a partially torn UCL, Harper suffered a broken thumb that sidelined him for most of July and August. Again ahead of schedule, he helped the Phillies recover from a 19-31 start to an impressive October run.
In the Division Series against Atlanta and the NLCS against San Diego, Harper batted . 444 with four home runs and 10 RBIs, including a home run off Padres reliever Robert Suarez that sent the Phillies to the World Series, where they lost in six games against Houston Astros.
Harper’s emergence as a Phillies heart has never been more evident than last year, his fourth with the franchise after signing a 13-year, $330 million contract prior to the 2019 season.