Harper won't put timetable on return: 'I've got a long way to go'
While Bryce Harper reported to Philadelphia Phillies spring training camp, the two-time MVP still isn't putting a timetable on his return from offseason Tommy John surgery.
"I've got a long way to go," Harper said Thursday, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
The 30-year-old slugger hit off a practice tee for the first time since his operation in November.
"We did some initial testing, and everything felt good, looked good," the seven-time All-Star continued. "Once I was done with surgery, I took the time off that I needed to let it heal. It's still healing right now; it's still evolving. Everybody's body is different."
Harper suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow last April but was able to play through it and act as the team's designated hitter throughout the year after recovering from a fractured thumb.
Despite the ailment, Harper was predictably dominant at the plate, hitting .286/.364/.514 with 18 homers and 11 stolen bases over 99 games. He also played a key role in the team's postseason success, crushing six home runs and boasting a 1.160 OPS in 17 games before losing to the Houston Astros in the World Series.
He's expected to return as the team's DH when healthy but remains non-committal on whether he'll play the outfield at all in 2023.
"It just depends on how I'm feeling. I don't think we're going to rush back the throwing part because we kind of don't have to at this point. But, of course, I want to play the outfield. ... I miss the feeling of throwing a guy out, chasing down a ball. I'm looking forward to that when that day comes."
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