WATCH: Harper's Instagram post will excite Phillies fans originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
But on Monday the reigning NL MVP shared a brief, four-second clip to his Instagram story that should have Phillies fans everywhere fired up as the team enters a playoff push over its final 48 games.
Harper was in the batting cages down in South Philly on Monday, getting a batting practice session in at CBP while his teammates are on the road in Cincinnati:
Watching Harper swing a bat - even if it's just one swing, completely removed from actual game action - is music to fans' ears. (Music to fans' eyes? Is that... a thing? You know what I mean.)
The Phillies have successfully stayed in the Wild Card race (and even been a Top 10 in Major League Baseball) in Harper's absence, but the past weekend's anemic series against the NL East-leading Mets was a reminder that this team needs more talent in the lineup to compete with the sport's best squads come the postseason.
Harper's bat can provide that kind of jolt.
Around the time of his surgery, the Phillies' hope was that Harper could return to the lineup by September 1. That date is just over two weeks away. Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski appeared on MLB Network on Monday and called that date "realistic" and said that, when Harper returns, he'll be the team's designated hitter.
Because of multiple injuries this season, Harper has spent just eight games in right field. He appeared as the DH 55 times before the surgery.
Here's more on Harper's timeline towards a return from NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury:
"Harper will reach an important step in his recovery from a broken left thumb when he starts taking batting practice at Citizens Bank Park on Monday. If all goes well after a few days of BP, Harper could start seeing high velocity from a pitching machine in the indoor cages. That would be the final step before heading out to a minor-league affiliate for some competitive at-bats.
"Harper, who was injured on June 25, has pointed toward a 'September-ish' return. His thumb is completely healed. He is pretty much in the driver’s seat as to when he wants to go out on minor-league rehab. The determining factor will be when he feels ready to see competitive, live pitching so just taking batting practice is an important step."
So, to recap: Harper's back swinging a bat at CBP, Dombrowski says Sept. 1 is realistic, and the Fightins have a series against the lowly Reds on tap.
Sounds like it's time for the Phils to turn it on.