Bryce Harper returned for the Philadelphia Phillies after over two months as the MLB outfit took on Pittsburgh Pirates in the season opener on Friday. The designated hitter batted third and scored one homer, with an RBI of two.
Phillies led Pirates 6-2 at the bottom of the seventh innings.
Harper hasn’t played for the Phillies since June 25 when he was hit by a pitch on his left thumb by San Diego’s Blake Snell. He suffered a small tear in his UCL in his throwing elbow. The 2021 National League MVP was activated from the 60-day injured list Friday. Phillies optioned infielder Yairo Munoz to Triple A Lehigh Valley.
As Harper came in to bat, the Citizens Bank Park, at a 48% capacity, gave him a standing ovation.
Harper is batting .318 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs in 64 games. He went 5-for-8 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in a pair of rehab starts at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Phillies had planned to keep Harper in Triple-A through Saturday, but his return to the big leagues was moved up after his walk-off double for the IronPigs on Wednesday night.
Bryson Stott, who rooms with Harper during Spring Training and was wearing a Harper T-shirt Friday.
“Any time you can get, I think, the best hitter in the league back in the lineup and with the bats we already have, it’s going to be awesome. We all watched his games in the minor leagues and thought he was ready the first day,” Stott said.
Philadelphia Phillies’ line-up against the Pirates:
Rhys Hoskins, 1B
Alec Bohm, 3B
J.T. Realmuto, C
Nick Castellanos, RF
Jean Segura, 2B
Matt Vierling, CF
“I’m so happy. I was about to resell my tickets, make a nice profit but have to go support my boy,” Phillies fan Kyle Keefer said, as per CBS.
“Pretty exciting. Pretty excited for Harper to be back. He hit that home run with Lehigh and all that. He’s going to come back, he’s going to be stronger than ever. He’s going to kill it tonight,” fan Nathan Nelson said.