Harper could return to Phillies lineup Tuesday at Dodgers

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HOUSTON (AP) — Star Bryce Harper could return to the Philadelphia Phillies lineup as early as Tuesday if an exam on his surgically repaired right elbow goes well.

On Monday in Los Angeles, the two-time National League MVP will visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed his Tommy John surgery last November.

“It’ll be tomorrow and then we’ll see what happens,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said Sunday. “I don’t think, just talking with Harp, I don’t think he’ll play tomorrow even if he’s cleared. But hopefully, he gets cleared.”

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The Phillies open at three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday night.

If Harper returns Tuesday, it would be significantly ahead of the timetable offered soon after he had the surgery Nov. 23, when he was expected to return near the All-Star break.

Harper, who has been facing pitching for a few weeks, will be the team’s designated hitter in his return.

“He’s pretty geeked up about getting out there and playing,” Thomson said. “He’s itching.”


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Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press