Phillies’ Harper homers in 1st at-bat in Triple-A rehab game

Sports

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Phillies slugger Bryce Harper homered to right-center field in his first at-bat for Philadelphia’s Triple-A team Tuesday night as part of his rehabilitation assignment from a broken left thumb.

Harper was the designated hitter and hit second in the lineup for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for the start of a six-game series against Gwinnett. He drilled the fifth pitch of the at bat against Atlanta Braves prospect Jared Shuster high over the wall at Coca-Cola Park in front of what was announced as a sellout crowd of 10,001 fans.

Harper, who won his second NL MVP award last year, hasn’t played for the Phillies since he broke his left thumb on June 25. He is expected to play in Lehigh Valley through Saturday and possibly return to the Philadelphia lineup on Monday when the playoff-contending Phillies begin a series at Arizona.

The 29-year-old Harper, who signed a $330 million, 13-year deal with the Phillies in 2019, is hitting .318 with 15 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .985 OPS. Harper had already surrendered his spot in right field earlier this season because of because of a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his throwing elbow. He last played the field at Miami on April 16.

Harper wore No. 4 for the IronPigs because he did not want reliever Jonathan Hennigan to surrender his No. 3.

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