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Dombrowski: Bryce Harper won't begin season on 60-day IL

Digital Brief: March 21, 2023 (AM)
Digital Brief: March 21, 2023 (AM) 02:42

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The door is open for Bryce Harper to return from Tommy John surgery well before the All-Star break.

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday on 94WIP that the team doesn't plan on placing Harper on the 60-day injured list. That would mean Harper, in theory, could be back in the lineup before May 29.

"We're not going to put him on the emergency injury list," Dombrowski said on The 94WIP Morning Show, "which would keep him out until May 29 because we're going to keep our options open."

The Phillies initially said they expect Harper to return by the All-Star break, which Dombrowski says is still the case.

"In our situation, we continually say we anticipate him before the All-Star Game, which we think will happen," Dombrowski said. "The one thing you never know about setbacks with these types of things, so that's why having a specific time date is always very difficult. Do I hope that he comes back before that? Sure, no question about it."

Harper is "progressing as the doctor has said" and swinging the bat without pain, according to Dombrowski.

When Harper does return, he'll do so as the Phillies' designated hitter. Harper's timeline to play the field remains in flux.

Dombrowski said Harper will begin throwing in about another month.

"As far as playing the outfield is concerned, I have no idea in that regard," Dombrowski said. "But I'm really not all that concerned even with that one at this point."

Dombrowski added Harper will eventually play the outfield, even if it's not this season.

Harper reported to spring training on March 9, telling reporters he doesn't want to put any specific timeline on his return.

"Things can change either way. I can be after, I can be before," Harper said then. "As of right now, that's the date that we kind of solidified. We're not going to rush. We're going to be smart about it."  

With Dombrowski's update Tuesday, it appears before the All-Star break is a good bet to place.

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