Report: Phillies' Bryce Harper to have thumb surgery but could still play in 2022
Bryce Harper will reportedly have surgery to stabilize the fractured thumb he suffered Saturday, according to NBC Sports' Jim Salisbury.
This news, believe it or not, doesn't necessarily end Harper's 2022 season. The best-case scenario for Harper's return is four-to-six weeks, which opens up the possibility he could come back to the Philadelphia Phillies lineup by the end of August. This is a much more promising timetable than the "indefinite" tag the team placed on him following Saturday's 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres.
Harper was hit in his left thumb by a 97 mph fastball from Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell in the fourth inning of Saturday's match. He immediately fell to the ground in pain and walked off under his own power but was visibly frustrated with the injury. Though it looked like he exchanged words with Snell, Harper said after the game he know the pitch hitting him in the thumb wasn't intentional.
Harper and Snell exchanged words. Bryce knew it wasn't intentional pic.twitter.com/9kpJI3LCgT
— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) June 26, 2022
“It wasn’t heated at all,” Harper said, via The Associated Press. “It was just the moment and a crappy situation. I’ve been playing against Blake since we were 10, 11 years old so I know there was no ill-will behind that at all. The inside pitch is part of the game. He is a great player and a great human being as well. I wish him the best and I told him to keep throwing that inside fastball because it sets that slider really good.”
“Obviously, I felt terrible hitting him,” Snell said, via The Associated Press. “I don’t do that and he knows that. We’ve talked, we’ve handled it. He plays with a lot of passion and I can understand why he’d be upset. I’m just as upset as he is — I hit him. ... I just hope he recovers quickly and gets back out there and continues to compete.”
It's been a strange season for the Harper and Phillies. Harper's battled a tear in his elbow all season that forced him to miss some games, and the Phillies were staring at another disappointing season before the team fired manager Joe Girardi on June 3. Since promoting bench coach Rob Thomson to interim manager, though, the Phillies have won 17 of the past 23 games and Harper is batting .359 with five home runs and 16 RBIs.
Philadelphia will have to make do without Harper for the foreseeable future, but the season isn't sunk just yet.