Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper hasn’t actually played in the outfield in a month due to an elbow issue that impacts his throwing, but not his swinging. The team had been, to date, pretty vague about what was going on, previously calling it a mild elbow strain. You’ll note that a “strain” is associated with a muscle issue, rather than a structural issue.
Well, about that … it’s actually a partially-torn UCL:
Harper will have a PRP injection on Sunday. That’ll take him out of the lineup on Sunday, and possibly Tuesday.
— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) May 12, 2022
We’ve seen players – pitchers, even – successfully rehab a partially-torn UCL in the past, following a platelet rich plasma injection. With a small tear, and with no added risk from swinging, then it’s conceivable that this course of action will work, and Harper could be back to playing in the outfield by sometime this summer. It’s also possible it will not work, and surgery – Tommy John surgery – will eventually be required. Time will tell.
In the meantime, the Phillies will continue to test the boundaries of passable outfield defense, with Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos manning the corners. Love those guys. Love their bats. But as the two corner outfielders for the foreseeable future? Never being able to hide them at DH for a bit? Eek.
On the bright side, Harper, 29, is still hitting very well: .269/.326/.521, 136 wRC+.