Spring training is still a few months away but the Philadelphia Phillies quest to get back to the 2023 World Series just got a bit more complicated.
Phillies’ slugger Bryce Harper underwent Tommy John Surgery to repair a torn UCL that he suffered in May. Instead of opting for surgery during the season, Harper played through the injury and served as the team’s designated hitter on Philadelphia’s magical run to the World Series.
Normally reserved for pitchers, Tommy John Surgery involves the reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament inside the elbow. The team announced that the surgery went well and that Harper may be healthy enough to return by the 2023 MLB All-Star Break.
While that might seem like a long time for Phillies fans, there is some hope.
Los Angeles Angels’ star Shohei Ohtani underwent the same surgery back in October 2018 and was able to return as the team’s designated hitter the following May. That would put him on the same timeline reported by Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, who recently reported that Harper could begin hitting competitively as soon as “mid-May”
Unfortunately for Harper, injuries have been holding him back over the past few seasons.
He missed an extended period of time last season with a broken thumb before injuring his elbow this year.
When healthy, Harper is one of the best hitters in the MLB.
A two-time National League MVP and seven-time All-Star, Harper still batted .286 with 18 home runs and 65 RBIs in 99 games last year.
The Phillies’ star also turned things up in the playoffs, batting .349 with a 1.160 OPS, six home runs and 13 RBIs in just 17 postseason contests.
If Harper can rejoin the team in May, it would be a big boost to the Phillies’ World Series chances.