For the very first time since he was a 19-year-old kid awaiting his big league debut, Bryce Harper took at-bats throughout a Triple-A game on Tuesday.
A decade have passed since his teenage days. Harper has won two MVP Awards and converted into the premier baseball superstar that everyone anticipated throughout that period.
And he didn’t disappoint. In his first rehab appearance, serving because the designated hitter and hitting second in Triple-A Lehigh Valley’s lineup, Harper went 2-for-3 with two home runs, two walks, four RBIs and two runs scored in the IronPigs’ 10-5 win on the Gwinnett Stripers.
On the fifth pitch he saw in the initial inning, Harper hit a soaring solo shot to right field to find the IronPigs on the board. He walked in the 3rd inning before grounding out to second base to get rid of the fifth. Harper took another walk in underneath of the seventh inning. In the eighth, with two runners on and something out, Harper smacked a three-run homer down the left-field line to increase Lehigh Valley’s result in four.
Harper, who hasn’t faced pitching since June 25 contrary to the Padres when Blake Snell hit him with a fastball and broke his left thumb, could go back to the Phillies as soon as in a few days.
Harper plans to play with the IronPigs through Saturday. He won’t play Sunday, that may allow him to fly with the Phillies from Philadelphia to Phoenix on Sunday night if he feels he could be healthy and prepared to play. The Phillies open a three-game series contrary to the D-backs on Monday.
Harper was enjoying a fantastic season before breaking his thumb, batting .318 with 15 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .984 OPS in 64 games. During the injury, Harper ranked fifth in the National League in batting average, sixth in on-base percentage (.385) and second in slugging percentage (.599).