By Sam Bush
Phils slugger Bryce Harper will undergo surgery Nov. 23 in Los Angeles,
As of now, The Athletic reports, it hasn’t been decided if it will be a full elbow reconstruction, also known as Tommy John surgery.
Phils president Dave Dombrowski said today that Harper likely will not be ready for Opening Day.
Harper met Monday in Los Angeles with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, and they mapped out a course correction for the distressed ulnar collateral ligament near Harper’s right elbow.
Last April, on a routine throw from right field, Harper injured his elbow in a way similar to how a pitcher might. Like a pitcher, Harper’s elbow issue probably devolved over time before finally snapping. The Phillies were forced to remove Harper from regular duty in right field and instead utilized him as a daily designated hitter.
To make matters worse, Harper suffered a broken left thumb when he was hit in the hand by a Blake Snell pitch in late June, forcing him out for two months. After he returned, Harper hit just .227 with three homers over 35 games. In a playoff chase, the Phillies were not able to ease Harper back. They needed him and immediately.
Overall, he played in just 99 games, missing all of July and most of August, but Harper still hit at an All-Star level and his run through the postseason was one of legend. Harper hit .349 with an 1.160 OPS in leading the Phillies to the World Series. He was the best batter in the playoffs, with six home runs, seven doubles and 13 RBIs.
In the end, it worked. But toughing it out, as Harper did, was not a sustainable practice. His elbow injury was not going away. Surgery became necessary.