Bryce Harper came into Clearwater today and met with reporters. While he is not going to put a timetable on just when he will be playing, it certainly will not be for a while, most likely four months, give or take a week or two. With the All-Star Break as a good guess, Harper gave an answer a politician would love. “It could be back after, I could be before,” said Harper.

No matter what happens, it will definitely be one or the other, won’t it?

The fact that Harper will not have to be pressed into action defensively because of the DH rule in the National League, could take at least a little time off the prognosis. Harper spent all but the first couple weeks of last season as the team’s DH after having pain in the elbow, which eventually led to Tommy John surgery.

Harper has been everything he was advertised to be when he signed with the Phillies as a free agent. In four seasons in Philly, Harper has produced a slash line of 101-296-.282/.394/.546. In 2021, Harper was the National League MVP and hit a career-high 42 doubles to lead the majors, and also led the sport in slugging percentage at .615, OPS at 1.044, and OPS+ (179). That was in addition to 35 home runs and a .309 average.

The next step for Harper is to hit off a tee and slowly increase how often he swings a bat. It’s thought that he could start hitting off the tee in the next day or two before starting to ramp up slightly and slowly.

Harper also told reporters that he was excited with the off-season moves the team made with the signing of shortstop Trea Turner, starter Taijuan Walker and relievers Craig Kimbrel and Gregory Soto. Harper and Turner have been friends for a long time and he believes that Phillies fans will love the way Turner plays the game.