Bryce Harper has partial UCL breakup, will play DH, sports doctor says

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Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper winger will now become the designated hitter for the foreseeable future as he did a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament.

It took a month to diagnose and announce, like Harper originally injured his elbow on April 11 on this shot at home:

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Bryce Harper (3) of the Philadelphia Phillies gestures from first base after hitting an RBI single during the third inning of the first game of a double header against the New York Mets on Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Philadelphia.

Bryce Harper (3) of the Philadelphia Phillies gestures from first base after hitting an RBI single during the third inning of the first game of a double header against the New York Mets on Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Philadelphia.

The initial word for the injury was a “flexor strain”, which has often become the code for “the team fears injury to the UCL but does not want to irritate the fan base”. Unfortunately, the UCL’s partial tear at the throwing elbow has now been confirmed.

If Harper were a pitcher, the shutdown would be extended and surgery would be on the table. However, Harper is normally a right defender and the Phillies can take advantage of the new permanent DH rule in the National League which will allow Harper to continue playing. The Atlanta Braves have already taken advantage of this rule with Ronald Acuna, Jr. broke away from last year’s ACL tear.

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates his solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 12, 2022.

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates his solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 12, 2022.
(Photo AP / Kyusung Gong)

Harper has already been DH for 22 games since injury. He is counting on this to continue at least until the All-Star break, if not more. He is receiving an injection of platelet-rich plasma in his right elbow to induce healing and there are no plans for surgery yet. At best, he could start a launch program a month after the injection, but it will be a slow build-up.

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies goes around the bases after scoring a solo home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins on Friday, October 18. 1, 2021, in Miami.

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies goes around the bases after scoring a solo home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins on Friday, October 18. 1, 2021, in Miami.
(AP Photo / Lynne Sladky)

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Baseball purists might not like the new DH rule, but it does allow fans to see stars like Harper and Acuna still hit when they’re not 100% healthy.