Phillies slugger Harper expected to return to lineup Tuesday
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday, 160 days after undergoing Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow.
The two-time National League MVP indicated on Instagram that an appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday went well and that he was cleared to return.
The Phillies arrived in Los Angeles overnight to begin a three-game series against the Dodgers on Monday. ESPN was the first to report that Harper was cleared.
The return would complete a stunning recovery for Harper. The Phillies said when Harper had surgery on Nov. 23 that he was expected to return around the All-Star break in mid-July.
It also comes at a great time for the Phillies, who have won seven of their last nine games. They took two of three from Houston over the weekend in a rematch of last year’s World Series.
Harper started taking on-field batting practice on April 5. He has been facing live pitching the past couple of weeks, along with doing sliding and baserunning drills.
He was placed on the 10-day injured list at the beginning of the season instead of the 60, which would have not allowed him to return until May 29.
Harper is expected to return to the lineup as the Phillies' designated hitter. He has played most of his career in right field but has been recently been taking fielding drills at first base. He threw up to 60 feet during pregame drills on Sunday in Houston.
The 30-year-old Harper first suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to the DH role. Harper underwent surgery after ElAttrache determined the tear did not heal on its own.
Harper hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs during the regular season as the Phillies made a late-season run to a wild-card spot.
Philadelphia made the World Series for the first time since 2009, losing in six games. Harper batted .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.
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The Associated Press