Stunning Development For Bryce Harper's Return Date, And It's HUGE News For Phillies

First, Bryce Harper was supposed to miss half of the 2023 season recovering from Tommy John surgery; then he was supposed to return at the end of May/beginning of June. But now, he's been given the OK from doctors on Monday, and he will be back in the Philadelphia Phillies lineup on Tuesday. Yes, that's tomorrow, May 2nd. 

As noted by Matt Gelb in The Athletic, Harper "has defied every conventional timeline" in his recovery from TJ surgery. But should we really have expected anything less from a gamer like him? 

“He’s pretty geeked up about getting out there and playing,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “He’s itching.”

“Amazing,” added team president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. “He’s absolutely amazing. He’s a great athlete. He works hard. He’s focused. He wants to get back. I mean, it’s amazing what he’s accomplished."

His return, even as the DH only, will go down as the quickest comeback from Tommy John surgery ever in the majors. Tuesday would be barely five months following the surgery.

The two-time MVP will be only a hitter for some months. Yes, he's been taking some fielding reps at first base, with the intention of eventually being able to play there. But there are still strict restrictions on him throwing the ball with his surgically repaired arm, and so that transition to 1B is still some time in the future. 

But nothing Harper does surprises his teammates. 

“Standard,” outfielder Nick Castellanos said. “I mean, Bryce went about this as Bryce Harper goes about anything. You know? Extremely focused, extremely meticulous, extremely dedicated. 

"Whenever he comes back, we’re going to be ready with open arms for him to just relax and do his thing.”

And it appears that Harper will be doing that "thing" on Tuesday.

Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports