This is the first time the Phillies can truly say they feel fortunate to have the DH in the National League.
If not for the DH, Harper very likely would be on the 10-day injured list.
“I’m very, very happy we have one of those,” Harper said on Friday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. “It makes me feel bad that guys don’t get days off. I mean, that’s kind of how I feel. That’s a spot where Casty [Nick Castellanos] can use it. Or J.T. [Realmuto] Or [Kyle] Schwarber. I just want to get back out there and play. I enjoy playing the outfield. I enjoy playing right. I enjoy that with the fans and everything. It still keeps me in the game.”
The Phillies at least have more flexibility and depth in the outfield while Harper is limited to DH. Before Friday’s series opener against Milwaukee, they activated Odúbel Herrera from the 10-day injured list. Herrera strained his right oblique in Spring Training. To make room for him, the Phillies optioned Símon Muzziotti to Double-A. Muzziotti got pressed into service only because Mickey Moniak broke his hand in the Phillies’ final Grapefruit League game.
Herrera and Matt Vierling will platoon in center field for the foreseeable future. But if somebody hits, that could change.
“Odúbel can get hot and do some pretty special things with the bat,” manager Joe Girardi said.
If Schwarber or Castellanos need a break, Girardi said Vierling could play in the corners, while Herrera plays center field.