Bryce Harper won’t talk timetable, but he’s confident he’ll be back this season

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Harper won’t talk timetable, but he’s confident he’ll be back this season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

A week after having surgery to pin his broken left thumb back together, Bryce Harper was in the Phillies clubhouse Tuesday, vowing to play again this season.

When?

Late August?

Early September?

Those are the estimates being thrown around.

“I don’t want to give anybody a timetable because I don’t know,” Harper said. “I don’t think that’s fair to you guys or my teammates or anybody else. If I knew a specific date that I’d be back, I’d tell you.

“But I’ll be back.”

Harper suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch from San Diego’s Blake Snell on June 25.

“I don’t want that to be my last game playing this year,” Harper said. “I just want to go day by day and be back when I can, when I feel healthy, whenever that is, to help this team win.”

Philadelphia-based surgeon Pedro Beredjiklian performed the surgery on Harper. Earlier in June, “Dr. B,” as Harper called him, performed surgery on Jean Segura, who is out with a broken right index finger and hopes to return in September.

Harper said three pins were placed into his broken thumb to speed the healing process. If he were a layman, he’d have skipped the surgery and the pins and let the break heal on its own. The pins will come out after a month, likely sometime in the final week of July. Once the pins are out, a clearer idea of a timetable for Harper’s return could emerge. Once his left hand is healthy, Harper said he would need at-bats in a controlled setting to complete his recovery.

Before the broken thumb, Harper had played the better part of three months with a ligament tear in his right elbow. He still has that injury but will be able to play through it once his thumb heals. He continues to receive treatment on the injured elbow and will have an ultrasound to gauge healing in a couple of weeks. It’s still not clear if he will require offseason surgery on the elbow.

The Phillies’ immediate challenge, as it has been for more than a week now, remains staying in contention for a playoff berth while Harper is out. Harper said he intends to get back on the field regardless of whether the team is in or out of the race, but he’d clearly prefer to play in meaningful games down the stretch. The Phils entered Tuesday night’s game against Washington at 4-3 since Harper went down.

“I hate sitting there watching, but it’s been a lot of fun seeing what these guys are doing,” he said. He mentioned the hot bats of Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins, the starting pitching and the bullpen, which, to use his word, has been “electric.”

The Phillies entered Tuesday night just a game behind St. Louis for control of the final NL wild card spot. After the current three-game series against Washington, the Phils will play a four-game showdown with the Cardinals in St. Louis starting Friday night. After that, the Phils play two in Toronto and three in Miami, which will take them to the All-Star break. The trade deadline is Aug. 2.

“It should be a good deadline if we do our job and get to where we need to be,” Harper said. “I never doubt (president of baseball ops Dave) Dombrowski doing what he needs to do to help this team get to where it needs to be. Dombrowski and (owner John) Middleton, they want to win as much as anybody in the clubhouse.”

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