Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper is back to taking live batting practice, signaling he's a stop closer to returning to the team for the first time since breaking his left thumb on June 25.
Interim manager Rob Thomson said Harper will return to light work in the batting cage on Tuesday and take part in a full batting practice on Wednesday. He took 60 swings off live pitching on Monday at Citizens Bank Park and also hit off a pitching machine.
Thomson said Harper didn't report any ill effects afterward, and he's nearing a minor league rehab assignment. The idea of Harper playing in the minors this weekend probably is premature.
"I'd say he'll be getting close but probably not there yet," Thomson said.
The Phillies previously said an early September return for Harper was likely, and that appears on target. Whenever he arrives, the Phillies will welcome him back as they pursue their first playoff appearance since 2011.
Philadelphia enters play Tuesday 10 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the National League East but in position for the second of three wild-card berths in the NL.
Harper, 29, won his second National League Most Valuable Player award last season, when he hit .309 with 42 doubles, 35 home runs and 84 RBIs.
Despite an elbow injury that limited him to the designated hitter role, he was off to a hot start in 2022, batting .318 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs in 64 games.
In his career with the Washington Nationals (2012-18) and Phillies, Harper is batting .281 with 282 homers and 800 RBIs in 1,347 games.
--Field Level Media