Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper is an integral part of their lineup, one that they will be missing for some time. Harper underwent Tommy John surgery this offseason.
Tommy John is much worse for pitchers than it is for hitters. If he was a pitcher, he very well might have been out the entire 2023 season as a result. Since he's a hitter, and can play DH and doesn't even have to throw in the outfield at that, his recovery time is much shorter.
After his torn UCL, Harper is not expected to be active on Opening Day. In fact, it's only around then that he is even expected to be able to swing a bat. He will then embark on a rehab mission and return eventually.
Most timelines expect him to be back around or before the All-Star break, so the Phillies might get half a season out of Bryce Harper this year.
Bryce Harper expected return helped by DH spot
Back when Harper had the surgery, GM Dave Dombrowski said via MLB.com:
“After a couple days, I didn’t have anybody say he wasn’t coming back. So that was a big influence. And then when [Harper] came back, he’d be the DH. We already had [Kyle] Schwarber and [Nick] Castellanos, so what are you going to do? We just thought, OK, we’ll just mix and match and see how guys did.”
Harper's return will be boosted by the DH being universal now. If they had to put him in the outfield since they are an NL team, it would take a lot longer before he could throw.
He can swing the bat as well as anyone, and that will allow him to return a little sooner.