Bad news for the Phillies today, as the potential Bryce Harper return to the outfield grass has been pushed back another two weeks. Harper was initially ruled out of playing the field for four weeks, but doctors have decided to tack another fortnight onto the timeline.
The reigning National League MVP is currently recovering from a platelet-rich plasma injection he received on Sunday, and has missed the last three games. The Phils have relied on hulking mashers Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos in left and right field, respectively. This less than ideal defensive positioning has magnified Harper’s absence in right field. With Harper on the shelf to begin this week, Roman Quinn has slotted into center field with Odúbel Herrera moving over to left, while Schwarber assumed designated hitter duties. Once Harper is healthy enough to swing, he’ll resume his full-time DH role, while Schwarber will go back to left field.
This recent pushback of the timetable will keep Harper off the outfield grass until late July at the earliest. Luckily, the Phillies have still benefited from Harper’s bat remaining in the lineup, as he holds an otherworldly .994 over 147 plate appearances, despite not playing the field since April 16th. Barring any setbacks, Harper should make his way back into the lineup at some point this week, giving them such extra punch that they lacked against the Padres on Tuesday night.