Bryce Harper feels good after first rehab game, no promises on when he’ll return to Philly

Bryce Harper’s first hit in his first rehab appearance Tuesday night with the IronPigs was a good sign. He missed a pitch from Gwinnett left-hander Jared Schuster, and his left thumb was pain-free.

More good things followed. Harper homered twice, walked twice and scored three runs in Lehigh Valley’s 10-5 victory before a sellout crowd of 10,100 (and 195 dogs) at Coca-Cola Park.

The best sign of all, however, comes on Wednesday morning.

“That second day back is always tough for everybody,” Harper said. “When I wake up in the morning, we’ll see how I feel. This is a step in every day. Take it one day at a time, see how I feel each day and go from there.”

In a June 25 game at San Diego, Harper broke his left thumb when he was hit by a pitch. He has been training in Philadelphia for the past week.

The 29-year-old is scheduled to play every day for Lehigh Valley until Saturday before reevaluating the thumb. He made it clear that this is a changing situation, that it is not just results that need to be considered.

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“We’ll take it day by day,” he said, “realizing that tonight was a great night, right? But at the same time, I need at-bats. I need to see the courts, see different guys, different angles and understand how my body reacts and go from there.”

Harper hit a solo homer in the first and walked in the third against Shuster, the Braves’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft. He faced right-hander Darren O’Day, a rehabbing major leaguer with 15 years of MLB experience.

Right-hander Tyler Ferguson walked Harper in the seventh and left-hander Danny Young gave up Harper’s opposite-field triple in the eighth.

The 2021 National League MVP said Tuesday’s results were great, but it was nice to be back playing after nearly two months out.

“Definitely a little nervous, butterflies,” Harper said. “They are always part of the game. It’s always fun to go back there and play with guys I know. Being able to get back in the dugout and wake up this morning getting ready to play today, it was great.”

Harper, who has a partially torn UCL in his right elbow, also said he will not play the field this season.

Morning Call reporter Tom Hausnick can be reached at 610-820-6651 or

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