The Philadelphia Phillies will receive quite the boost for the stretch run as they chase a National League wild-card spot.
NBC Sports Philadelphia noted the Phillies activated Bryce Harper from the injured list and will hit him cleanup for Friday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Harper has not appeared in a game since a June 25 victory over the San Diego Padres because of a thumb injury.
It has been an injury-riddled season for Harper, who also suffered a tear in his right UCL in May and was limited to a designated hitter role before suffering the thumb injury that required surgery.
Harper won the National League MVP while leading the league with a 1.044 OPS last season and seemed to be well on his way to a similar effort in 2022 ahead of the injuries.
He is slashing .318/.385/.599 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 64 games this season as part of a loaded lineup that also includes Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto.
Harper's return makes it even more likely the Phillies will reach the playoffs.
They are winners of four straight and currently occupy the second of three NL wild-card spots. They are 2.5 games ahead of the Padres and four games ahead of Milwaukee Brewers with a golden opportunity to expand on that lead in the immediate future.
Their next game against a team with a record above .500 is Sept. 16 against the division-rival Atlanta Braves. Series against the Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals shouldn't be particularly challenging as they look to put space between themselves and the other wild-card contenders.
Having Harper back will make it that much easier.