OF Bryce Harper could make an early return to Phillies’ lineup

Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper

Two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper has been missing from the Philadelphia Phillies lineup since the end of June after suffering a fracture in his left thumb.

Earlier this month, Harper began to hit off a tee before eventually taking live batting practice. The 29-year-old began a rehab assignment on Tuesday, targeting the start of next week for his return to the big club.

However, according to interim manager Rob Thomson, Harper may be back with the Phillies sooner than expected after an impressive first outing with Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley.

When speaking to reporters Wednesday, Thomson was asked if Harper could be back this weekend, to which he responded, “a possibility, yeah.”

“It just depends on how he feels,” Thomson said, per MLB.com’s Todd Zelecki. “But that was pretty impressive last night.”

If there were questions about the strength of his left thumb, Harper answered them all on Tuesday night. Harper finished 2-for-3 with two mammoth home runs and two walks.

The Phillies can reinstate Harper as early as Thursday, so it won’t be a surprise if the seven-time All-Star is back in red pinstripes this weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Harper is batting .318/.385/.599 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 64 games for Philadelphia this season. The Phillies have done surprisingly well without him, as they currently lead the San Diego Padres by 1.5 games for the second wild-card spot in the National League.

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