Bryce Harper was devastated to be out, discusses broken thumb originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Phillies won a game on Saturday night against one of the four teams they were chasing in the wild card race, but they lost something far more important.
The face of their franchise, the reigning MVP and the player who has worn them for the better part of a year is out indefinitely. Bryce Harper has a broken thumb, thanks to a Blake Snell fastball of 97 mph that escaped Saturday night in San Diego.
This will not be a short absence. Harper will be placed on the injured list on Sunday and Mickey Moniak will be recalled from Triple A, but there is clearly no replacement for Harper, internally or externally.
“I’ve never had a hand injury like this. I’ve never broken anything in my life,” said Harper. “This is new to me, so I’m just going to look at it day by day.
“I hate to be hurt. Things happen for a reason, everyone says that. really bad for the organization, for the guys, the city of philadelphia, the fans. I love to run and play out there every day. Absolutely rotten.”
Harper has endured a myriad of injuries since the start of 2021, but has been on fire since last year’s All-Star break without cooling down. After winning his second National League MVP award, he hit .318/.385/.599 in his 275 at bats for the thumb fracture this season. He has not been able to play on the field due to a small tear in his UCL, but his bat has remained completely untouched.
There was an initial fear Saturday that Snell’s fastball would hit Harper in the face, not the thumb. Harper was hit in the face by a 98mph fastball from Cardinals reliever Genesis Cabrera last season, a terrifying and painful injury that could leave even the best of them losing confidence at the plate. It didn’t happen to Harper.
“I wish it had hit me in the face. I don’t break any bones in my face, so…” Harper said with a slight smile. “I can take 98 to the face, but I can’t take 97 to the thumb.”
Nothing good can come of this, but the Phillies have at least five weeks before the trade deadline to find another batter, be it an outfielder or DH.
“He’s not really expendable on an individual basis, but we’re in a position where other people have to be offensive,” said Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations. “That’s what teams have to do, they have to pick it up, also for star players.”
Harper will see a hand specialist in Philadelphia this week to determine next steps. Surgery may be needed. Anyway, it looks like Harper will be spending a lot of time on the shelf having played in 92% of Phillies games since signing here.
“I’ve been able to be there with my UCL and be fine with swinging the bat, and then the bizarre infection with my hand, and then getting hit in the hand,” Harper said.
“I want to play, I want to be with the boys. Just a tummy.”