In an effort to expedite his return to the field this season, Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper is learning to play first base, according to Phillies manager Rob Thompson in a conversation with @MattGelb. This surprising move comes as Harper continues to recover from elbow surgery he underwent on November 23, 2022.
Throughout his MLB career, Bryce Harper has only played first base for 0.1 innings, making this a significant adjustment for the seasoned outfielder. However, Harper and the Phillies believe that adapting to the new position could help him get back on the field sooner than initially expected.
In 2022, Harper played in 99 games with the Phillies, amassing 370 at-bats, 63 runs, and 106 hits, while driving in 65 RBIs. However, his fielding stats were limited due to his injury, with only 22.2 innings played in the field, recording 14 putouts and zero errors in 14 opportunities.
Harper’s willingness to learn a new position at this stage in his career demonstrates his dedication to his team and his eagerness to contribute on the field. The Phillies hope that Harper’s adaptability will not only speed up his return to the lineup but also improve the team’s overall performance and postseason chances.
As Harper continues to work on mastering first base, fans and teammates alike are optimistic about his potential impact on the Phillies’ season. While it remains to be seen how quickly he can adapt to his new position, Harper’s determination and skill make it likely that he will be an asset to the team in any role he plays.