UPDATE: He is not of this world.
Only 159 days after Tommy John surgery, two-time MVP Bryce Harper has been cleared to play by the Philadelphia Phillies, sources tell ESPN. A remarkable recovery, shattering expectations he’d return in July. He's expected to be in the lineup starting at designated hitter Tuesday.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 1, 2023
I thought I had seen everything in baseball. Triple plays, perfect games, even Bartolo Colon hitting a home run. What I haven’t seen is a person recovering from Tommy John surgery at a rate akin to a lizard growing a new tail when losing their old one as a defense mechanism.
News: Bryce Harper is seeing the doctor Monday morning. If he's cleared, he is expected to return to the Phillies' lineup Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium -- 160 days after Tommy John surgery.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 30, 2023
More here: https://t.co/InSNDFp9Mx
From Gelb’s story:
Harper is returning only as a hitter, and that’s allowing him to author one of the quickest comebacks from Tommy John surgery ever recorded. The current plan all hinges on his appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the orthopedist who performed Harper’s Tommy John surgery on Nov. 23. The Phillies have decided that even if Harper is cleared Monday, he will not be activated Monday night for the series opener against the Dodgers.
Harper will be the DH for a period of months; he will continue to learn first base with pregame drills, but clearance to throw without restrictions will take time. The Phillies do not want to rush that aspect of this recovery.
It’s rare, though increasingly common, for us to hear about hitters getting Tommy John surgery. An errant throw, an odd swing and the body suddenly decides enough is enough. Whenever we do hear that that particular surgery is coming, we push that player to side for the equivalent of a season, knowing anything else they can provide would simply be a bonus, icing on the “he’s healthy” cake.
What Harper is doing is unprecedented. He will not be in the field for while longer, something he does truly miss by his own admission, but getting him back into the lineup will surely provide a boost the team needs morale wise. They’ve finished a month of April over the .500 mark, something we didn’t really think was possible the way they looked at the beginning of the month, but did so without looking like a playoff team. They won’t be whole yet, but having Harper in the lineup with regularity will be a huge step towards completing the process.
Now, about that pesky checkup he needs to do...