PHILADELPHIA — Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper was back in the club’s lineup Saturday, hitting third as the designated hitter against the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Harper hadn’t played since May 14 because of right elbow soreness, which came after receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to treat a small tear in his ulnar collateral ligament.
Harper acknowledged the last week was tough on him, but he woke up Saturday morning with his elbow feeling much better. Harper said he was warned by the doctors that it could take seven to 10 days for the soreness to go away.
“It was a feel thing,” Harper said. “I was able to feel better today. I felt better yesterday.”
Harper’s injury came at a bad time. He was swinging a hot bat, going 14-for-23 (.609) with three home runs and eight RBIs in his previous six games before receiving the injection on Sunday. He hopes to provide a spark to a team that has gone 1-4 in his absence. The Phillies were shut out twice in those five games.
“It’s really good to have him back,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Any time you take a player of his caliber out of the lineup, you are going to miss him. The other thing, too, he was really hot. He hasn’t had an at-bat in a week. I hope that he doesn’t lose [the] timing that he had.”
Harper has been dealing with the injury since Mid-April, and he’s months away from a possible return to right field because doctors recommended he not throw for at least six weeks after receiving the injection. He will spend most of the time as the Phils’ designated hitter.
Harper knows what it’s like to be the No. 1 prospect and make his Major League debut, which was against the Dodgers more than 10 years ago. Harper had some advice for the young Rutschman, who will have the spotlight on him.
“Just be yourself, that’s it,” Harper said. “Try to be the same guy. Don’t do too much. Just be Adley. He is great for a reason. He has been where he is for a reason. … Continue to be himself and don’t let anybody change him.”