The Philadelphia Phillies may have the anchor back in their lineup by midseason.
The team announced Wednesday that Bryce Harper could return to the lineup as the designated hitter by the 2023 All-Star break after undergoing Tommy John surgery, though it will take longer for him to be able to get back in the field for defense:
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia previously reported the procedure went "very well," also noting Harper could potentially return to "hitting competitively by mid-May."
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters earlier this month the Phillies wouldn't know whether Tommy John would be necessary "until they get in there" even though some element of elbow surgery was needed.
While the Tommy John procedure isn't the best update from Philadelphia's perspective, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com pointed out fans shouldn't be overly concerned considering Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani underwent the surgery in October 2018 and was back in the team's lineup as a designated hitter by May 2019.
Injury concerns have been an unfortunate reality for Harper of late.
He suffered a broken thumb that kept him sidelined for some time last season before tearing the UCL in May. To his credit, he was able to return and play designated hitter during the team's run to the World Series.
When healthy, he is one of the best players in the league.
Harper's resume includes two National League MVP awards, a Rookie of the Year, seven All-Star selections, two Silver Sluggers and an NLCS MVP.
The 30-year-old slashed .286/.364/.514 with 18 home runs and 65 RBI in 99 games in 2022. It's difficult to envision the Phillies competing at the same level if Harper isn't back and in the middle of the lineup, so a return by May would be a welcome development.