With Harper back, Phillies eye October baseball


Harper joins Phillies' playoff drive


Bryce Harper

As the Philadelphia Phillies continue their drive for a Wild Card berth, they’ll need all hands on deck — including the recuperating hand of their best hitter.

Indeed, a Bryce Harper at full power would be a boon to the Phils’ hopes making the playoffs but his availability this season has been a hit-or-miss proposition.

Back in April, he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow making a throw from right field, an injury that forced a move to designated hitter. He filled that role until late June, when a pitch from the San Diego Padres’ Blake Snell broke his left thumb and sent him to the injured list for more than two months.

Before going on the IL, the two-time National League MVP was his usual menacing self, batting .318 with 15 home runs, 48 RBIs, a .385 on base percentage and a .985 OPS. His robust performance, however, didn’t keep the Phils from languishing around the .500 mark in the season’s first two-plus months, well behind the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

Since then, however, his teammates seemed to hit their stride and play well enough to bring themselves back into the conversation for the second Wild Card berth. And they’ll need their beastly lefty slugger to be at full strength if they’re to hold off the Padres for a ticket to October baseball.

Harper’s Phillies can be seen in action Thursday, Sept. 22, when they open a four-game home series against the Braves in a regional contest airing on Fox.


Bryce Aron Max Harper

Birth date: Oct. 16, 1992

Birthplace: Las Vegas

Height/weight: 6 feet, 3 inches/220 pounds

Teams: Washington Nationals (2012-18); Philadelphia Phillies (2019-present)

Position: Right fielder

Bats/throws: Left/right

No.: 3

Honors and achievements: Seven-time All-Star; 2012 Rookie of the Year; National League MVP (2015, 2021); Silver Slugger Award (2015, 2021); NL home run leader (2015); Home Run Derby winner (2018)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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