The Philadelphia Phillies began playing Bryce Harper at first base, as a way to get back on the field, after offseason Tommy John surgery.
Harper had been the Phillies designated hitter since returning from the Injured List on May 2. When he was cleared to begin throwing, Harper began working out as a first baseman, as a way to get back on the field sooner and to help the Phillies fill a need at first base.
Harper made his debut as a first baseman on July 21. He has made nine starts at the position and has played really well there. He’s committed one error and has made some highlight reel plays already.
Phillies General Manager Dave Dombrowski responded to a question from The Atheltic’s Jayson Stark about the possibility of Harper staying at first base and forgoing a return to the outfield.
“If you’d say is it possible, I’d say yes,” Dombrowski said on “The Athletic Baseball Show.” We have not had that conversation at all. The only thing I do know is that I asked him a week ago or so or 10 days ago how he likes it, and he likes it a great deal. And part of it is you’re involved. You’re much more involved in the action on every pitch.
“We’ll wait and we’ll see what ends up happening.”
The Phillies lost starting first baseman Rhys Hoskins for the season with a torn ACL in spring training and had been using a variety of different players there. Hoskins is headed for free agency in the offseason, leaving his future as the Phillies first baseman unknown.
Phillies Manager Rob Thomson has said that Harper will not return to his customary rightfield position this year, as the team is cautious with his recovery from the UCL injury.
The 30 year-old Harper had right years remaining on his contract beyond the 2023 season and a move as a full-time first baseman would be less taxing on his body.
Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper. Photo courtesy of the New York Post – Icon Sportswire via Getty Images