In what has turned out to be a frustrating season for Bryce Harper, he wound up headed for the IL after being hit by a pitch on the thumb by San Diego pitcher Blake Snell in Saturday night’s 4-2 win over the Padres. Harper, who has been playing with a torn UCL in his throwing elbow and also missed a few games with an infected blister on his hand, was in the midst of putting up big numbers despite all of the setbacks.
While few details are known of the extent of the injury, Harper will definitely require a stint on the IL and is out indefinitely until he can be evaluated fully. The Phillies will recall outfielder Mickey Moniak from Lehigh Valley to fill Harper’s roster spot for the immediate future. Moniak was batting .160 in nine games with the Phillies after he returned from the IL when he suffered a broken bone in his right hand in the final spring training game of the year. The Phillies had optioned Moniak to Triple-A in favor of Yairo Munoz, to give Moniak regular playing time and add another infielder to the mix at the major league level. At Lehigh Valley, Moniak was batting .313 in 11 games with three home runs and four RBI.
It is hoped that Moniak will be able to be in San Diego in time for Sunday’s game against the Padres, but president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski cited issues with air travel including delays and canceled flights that could impact Moniak’s arrival. On Saturday, newly selected pitcher Mark Appel had his flight to San Diego canceled and the team had to devise a work around to get him to San Diego to be available for Saturday’s game.
As Harper was walking off the field, he appeared upset with Snell and yelled something at him. Before the game was even over, Harper had texted Snell to apologize for the exchange. Harper told reporters later that he realizes that Snell did not intend to hit Harper with the pitch.
I’ve been playing against Blake since we were 10 or 11 years old. I know there was no ill will behind that at all. It’s part of the game, the inside pitch is part of the game. It just got away from him,” said Harper.
Dombrowski is hopeful that the team will continue to play well even without Harper and he is not set to jump to make any trade deadline moves in an attempt to replace Harper. “I’m still hopeful that we will play well,” said Dombrowski. “We still have a good club. You don’t replace a person like him, but we’ve still got a good club, and a lot of good things about it. We’ve still got a lot of guys who can swing the bat, so all the guys will have to step up.”
After winning the National League MVP Award last season, Harper was on his way to even better numbers this year with the Phillies. In 64 games, Harper was batting 15-48-.318/.385/.599 following up on last season’s numbers of 35-84-.309/.429/.615 in 141 games with the Phillies.