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The hits just keeping coming for our right fielder, and, unfortunately, not all of them are positive.
Prior to their 9-7 victory over the Dodgers late last night, the Phillies got some bad news. Bryce Harper has a small tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, an injury that usually requires Tommy John surgery.
While the threat of TJ surgery is ominous, Harper is going to go a different route to rehab his elbow. On Sunday, Harper is going to get a PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, shot in his elbow. Basically, the PRP shot will promote growth in the ligament and help speed up the healing process. After the shot, as seen above, he will be shut down from throwing for four weeks.
Let’s face it, Harper’s injury is not a positive development for the Phils. Their best defensive outfielder, his absence from right field will absolutely affect the team’s defense. A daily outfield of Castellanos, Schwarber, and Herrera/Quinn is not elite defensively by any means. For example, in 187 innings in right field this season, Castellanos has -3 defensive runs saved and -2 outs above average.
Not only that, but it takes away some roster flexibility, as Harper is going to be the DH moving forward. Getting guys some days off their feet will be harder now, since you aren’t taking Harper’s bat out of the lineup.
Thank goodness for the universal designated hitter, or the Phillies would be in serious trouble. Harper’s elbow does not affect his ability to hit, and it shows. So far through 10 games in May, Harper is slashing .325/.349/.725 with four HRs. He has been the team’s best hitter this month.
Even with a torn ligament in his elbow, Harper is still amongst the best hitters in the game. Although the recovery for Tommy John for position players is different, any surgery would likely knock him out for the year. Any missed time for MV3 severely inhibits the team’s playoff chances.
While his injury is not the best thing for the team, it also isn’t debilitating. The defense was already expected to be a weakness for this team, so it won’t be much of a change. No matter how the rehab goes, you aren’t going to be taking his bat out of the lineup. His elbow is clearly not having any effect on his swing.
The Phillies still need all the production they can get out of Harper. An injured Harper is still the most important hitter on this team.
And arguably one of the best in the league.