Bryce Harper Achieves Big First Since Tommy John Surgery

Bryce Harper is good for baseball. And he's certainly good for the Philadelphia Phillies. So it was great news to hear that the two-time MVP was taking the next step yesterday in his recovery from Tommy John surgery: hitting off a tee at Phillies' spring camp.

Harper took 16 swings with a real bat at a real ball for the first time since having the surgery on November 23rd to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson even says Harper might be able to take batting practice before the end of camp. 

When he returns, it'll be at DH, and the Phillies have said that their team leader is expected back “before the All-Star break.” Many of his teammates scoff at that, says Jayson Stark of The Athletic, fully expecting Harper to be DHing much sooner than that. 

"Me personally, knowing the superhuman that he is, I think he’s going to be back before then," said Rhys Hoskins. "Maybe. Hopefully.”

But Harper is saying all the right things about his return to play. “We’re not going to rush,” he said Thursday. “We’re going to be smart about it.”

How important is Harper to the Phils come playoff time? All he did in 2022, in helping lead them to a World Series appearance, is register the first six-homer, 13-extra-base-hit, 1.100 OPS postseason by any National League player in postseason history.