Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper will have a follow-up appointment on his reconstructed right elbow Monday in Los Angeles, and if cleared, he is expected to make his season debut Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, according to manager Rob Thomson.
The two-time National League MVP underwent Tommy John surgery on Nov. 23. The procedure was performed by Los Angeles-based Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who will examine Harper on Monday morning in a scheduled checkup. If given the OK, Harper would return to the Phillies’ lineup as their designated hitter Tuesday against the Dodgers.
Harper’s recovery will have taken just 160 days, the fastest return on record by a major league player from Tommy John surgery, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
When he originally had the surgery, the Phillies offered an estimated timetable of sometime “by the All-Star break.” Harper, however, appeared to be well ahead of that projection, with the team expressing optimism earlier this month that he could return in May.
“He’s pretty geeked up about getting out there and playing,” Thomson said before the Phillies played the Astros on Sunday night in Houston. “He’s itching.”
Thomson later specified during the “Sunday Night Baseball” telecast that all Harper needs is clearance from ElAttrache to slide headfirst.
Harper, who has been facing live pitching for a few weeks, will not go on a rehab assignment. Thomson said that even if Harper is cleared Monday morning, he will not be activated ahead of Monday night’s game.
Harper’s return will come at DH, but he has continued his work at first base, where the Phillies have used Alec Bohm and Kody Clemens with Rhys Hoskins out with a torn ACL in his left knee.
“Amazing,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said of Harper’s recovery. “He’s absolutely amazing. He’s a great athlete. He works hard. He’s focused. He wants to get back. I mean, it’s amazing what he’s accomplished. We have that next step [with the doctor to clear him]. But the progress he’s made is phenomenal.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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