A tumultuous season marred by injury continued in frightening fashion for Bryce Harper on Saturday during the Phillies’ road matchup against the Padres.
The reigning NL MVP exited the contest in the fourth inning and would not return after taking a pitch from starter Blake Snell off his left hand. The 97 mph fastball immediately sent Harper to the ground in obvious pain as Padres catcher Jorge Alfaro and Philadelphia’s training staff checked to see if he was O.K.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com later confirmed after the game that Harper suffered a fractured left thumb, and will be out indefinitely.
News of Harper’s latest injury adds to what has been a trying season for the 29-year-old All-Star. He has already been limited most of the season due to a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his throwing elbow, and missed five games in May after receiving a pl
atelet-rich plasma injection in the elbow. He also missed a game on June 1 due to right forearm soreness.
On Saturday, Harper was again saddled with another setback after being on the receiving end of Snell’s wild pitch. After taking few moments to collect himself, Harper slowly rose to his feet and grabbed his left thumb as he made his way toward the dugout. He repeatedly looked toward Snell before exchanging a few words with the veteran which prompted the stunned San Diego crowd to suddenly break out into a chorus of boos.
Another angle showing the aftermath of the scary scene appears to show a visibly upset Harper acknowledging an apologetic Snell and re-assuring him that he understood the play wasn’t intentional.
Though it’s unclear how much time he will miss, Harper’s initial diagnosis will now lead to an extended absence that will likely sink the remainder of the season. Despite posting a 15–6 record since relieving manager Joe Girardi on June 3, Philadelphia (37–35) is still on the outside looking in as it looks to nab its first postseason berth since 2011.
Losing Harper will certainly not help those efforts. Harper, who’s been primarily used as a designated hitter due to his elbow injury, entered Saturday hitting .320/.385/.602. The six-time All-Star also recorded 15 home runs, and ranked seventh in the league in extra-base hits (37).
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