Johan Camargo on Bryce Harper’s fateful day in San Diego

Johan Camargo did not make the starting lineup for the Phillies’ June 25 game in San Diego against the Padres. He was ready to be a late-game replacement as a hitter, linebacker or runner, something he had done 10 times earlier this season.

Camargo received a call from interim manager Rob Thomson much earlier than expected in what may be the club’s lowest point in 2022.

Padres starter Blake Snell sent a 97-mph fastball to star shortstop Bryce Harper.

Harper couldn’t get out of the way. As a result, the thumb of the left hand is broken. It cost the designated hitter the last two months.

“It was a difficult situation for everyone [in the dugout]” Camargo said. “He’s the guy who hits the best. He’s in the third hole in our lineup.”

Camargo and his Philadelphia teammates finished with a 4-2 victory, but the tough break resonated with the club’s fans.

A playoff drought dating back to 2011 was in danger of being extended with the offense tied up indefinitely. Gloom and doom was the mantra of sports talk.

June 25 was a sign of bad things to come for the Phillies. Zach Eflin won his third game of the season for the Phils that day. This may be the last pitch he throws for the franchise. He has not appeared in a game since then with a right knee injury. Eflin and Phyllis have a mutual option for 2023.

Camargo went on the injured list four days later with a right knee injury. He returned for just five games before heading to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he is now.

Relief pitcher Corey Knebel took control in the June 25 game. He is now out for the season with a strained right lat.

Serantani Dominguez earned the save that day at Petco Park. He is on the injured list with right triceps tendinitis, though the team is optimistic the right-hander can return in September.

Dominguez and Knebel were part of an improving bullpen that combined for four scoreless innings against the Padres.

There seem to be moving pieces every night when Eflin, Knebel and Dominguez are out.

But, somehow, the Phillies have been resilient since that fateful day.

Alec Bohm is hitting .341 with 15 extra-base hits. JT Realmuto is slashing .319/.375/.590/.965 with 20 extra base hits and 31 RBI.

Darrick Hall made a splash in his MLB debut with nine homers and 16 RBI. Rhys Hoskins has 22 extra-base hits, 23 RBI and 25 walks. Bryson Stott is hitting .287. The rookie is hitting .355 since Aug. 4, the day the club released veteran shortstop Didi Gregorius.

This adds up to a 30-20 run. The Phillies moved past the Brewers and Padres on Wednesday to move into second place in the National League.

Harper, meanwhile, is from Camargue in the Lehigh Valley. His first rehab game since June 25th was impressive: two home runs, two walks, three runs scored.

The 29-year-old’s second was even better. He doubled and doubled in five at-bats Wednesday, including a two-run, two-strikeout double in the bottom of the ninth.

Gwinnett was 49-0 when leading after eight innings this season.

Harper is scheduled to work out with the IronPigs until Saturday, but the decision is up to him. He said Tuesday night that he needs at-bats against quality pitching. He also needs to build strength in his left thumb.

Optimism among fans is running high given what the Phillies have done in his absence, as well as a favorable schedule for the remainder of the season.

“I respect those guys like Bohm and Reece and others who kept the team going,” Camargo said. “And so Harper is almost back. That’s good news for the Phillies.”

The Camaro is also feeling better. The results confirm this. He is 7-for-20 with four RBI and four runs scored in his last six games.

To maintain his versatility, the infielder played first, third and shortstop with the IronPigs.

“Thank God, I feel better,” he said. “I’ve been working so hard, training my legs more to make them strong, to get back to playing the way I’m used to.

“You have to trust the process. You need to work, keep your mind strong.”

Camargo is familiar with its situation. He played every game minus one last season with Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves’ system since June 3, then was activated by the Braves for four games in the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers.

Stripers manager Matt Tuiasasopa and hitting coach Carlos Mendez have helped Camargo navigate his way through the 2021 season.

“They really helped me get a strong mentality,” Camargo said. “I’m already strong, but this was something new. It is what it is, a business.

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“I’m happy to see my team there [Phillies] victory This is the most important thing now. I’m here to get stronger, that’s the most important thing for me is to get back to the big league. Mentally, I’m in a strong position and I feel good every day.”

Camargo will be among those being considered for the draft in September when major league rosters expand from 26 to 28.

Darrick Hall from first base reported Wednesday after being selected by the Phillies and going 0 for 4 with an RBI against the Stripers.

LHP Christopher Sanchez was recalled and started the Phillies’ game Wednesday against the Reds. LHP Michael Plassmeyer was optioned back to Triple-A after pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings in a key Phillies win Tuesday. It was his major league debut.

RHP Tyler Sear was asked to give up athletics. He is a native of California and was drafted in the 10th round in 2015 by the Giants. It was his first season in the Phillies system.

LHP Kent Emanuel (2-1, 2.36 ERA) faces Gwinnett LHP Kyle Mueller (6-6, 3.17 ERA) on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

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

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