Could there be a Memorial Day surprise in store for the Phillies? Dave Dombrowski, speaking on the 94 WIP Morning Show, said that the Phillies will not place Harper on the 60-day IL, preferring instead to place him on the 15-day IL Harper underwent Tommy John surgery during the offseason after playing with the elbow injury for much of the 2022 season. While he will need much closer to the 60 days than the 15 days to return to the lineup, placing him on the 60-day would mean he could not return until May 29 at the earliest.
Speaking on the Morning Show, Dombrowski said the team is keeping their options open. “If you put him on (the 60-day IL), that means for sure he’s not (back before May 29). But at least you want to keep your options open in that case.”
One issue is that by not placing him on the 60-day, the Phillies do not open an extra roster spot on their 40-man roster because players on the 60-day IL do not count toward the roster. There is no real risk though in keeping him on the 15-day IL because if the Phillies were desperate for a roster spot or saw that Harper would not be back before the end of May, they could move him to the 60-day and back date the injury so he would still be able to come off after May 29.
Dombrowski said that Harper is progressing well and swinging the bat with no pain. He is sure that Harper will be back by the original timetable of early to mid-July is reached, but is hopeful that he will return prior to then. When he does return, Harper will not be playing in the outfield and will be relegated to being the DH for the Phillies. Dombrowski had no projection for when Harper would be able to play defensively.