Bryce Harper Fractures Left Thumb

11:04PM: Harper has suffered a fractured left thumb, the Phillies announced.  An exact recovery timeline won’t be known until more tests take place, but Harper looks set to miss multiple months, and his 2022 season could very well be in jeopardy.

10:54PM: Bryce Harper left Saturday’s game in the fourth inning after being hit on the left hand by a Blake Snell fastball.  The reigning NL MVP had to quickly duck to avoid an up-and-in offering from Snell, but the ball still made contact with Harper’s hand, leaving him in obvious pain.  Johan Camargo took Harper’s place on the basepaths and in the lineup as the Phillies’ designated hitter.

More won’t be known until Harper undergoes testing, and despite Harper’s overt frustration, it is possible he might have avoided a break or fracture.  Even if major damage is avoided, it does seem likely that he’ll miss at least a few games until any swelling subsides, or he could perhaps make a 10-day trip to the injured list just to fully rest the injury.  The Phillies have an off-day on Monday, so the club might not make a decision on Harper until Tuesday, unless scans reveal obvious structural damage.

Harper has already been playing through pain, as a small UCL tear has limited him to DH duty for over two months.  In the big picture, Harper monopolizing the DH spot hasn’t helped Philadelphia, as Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber have been forced into everyday corner-outfield roles, much to the detriment of the Phillies’ defense.  (And possibly Castellanos’ offense, as he has had an underwhelming year at the plate.)  On the plus side, Harper’s own bat is still on fire, as he carried 15 home runs and a .320/.385/.602 slash line into tonight’s game against the Padres.

The Phillies can hardly afford to miss this production, and losing Harper for any significant amount of time could have a big impact on the team’s plans heading into the trade deadline.  After a terrible start to the season, the Phillies have a 16-6 record in the month of June, getting the club back over the .500 mark (37-35) and three games out of an NL wild card berth.  However, it is hard to imagine Philadelphia staying in the race without Harper carrying the lineup.  Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins are also hitting well, but most of the Phillies’ position players are hitting at an average or below-average pace.  Jean Segura is also out until at least mid-August with his own hand injury, as the second baseman underwent surgery to repair a fractured finger in early June.

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