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Report: Bryce Harper plotting interesting position change

Bryce Harper in a headband

Aug 5, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When Bryce Harper returns to the field for the Philadelphia Phillies, he may be looking a little different than the last version we saw of him.

Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports this week that the former NL MVP Harper, who continues to recover from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, is planning to take up first base. The idea reportedly came from Harper and was recently green-lighted by Phillies management.

While Gelb notes that the position change will not affect Harper’s timeline for a return (he will still be the designated hitter upon returning), a move to first base would allow the Phillies greater lineup versatility. The best-case scenario for a return by Harper to playing his usual position of right field would have been September, if at all, Gelb reports. But the ability to insert Harper at either DH or first base would give the team more chances to get his bat into the lineup.

You can read Gelb’s full reporting on the plan for Harper as well as his progress on a return here.

Harper has played just two of his 1,382 career MLB games at first base (as opposed to 1,258 in the outfield). But in manning first, Harper would not have to throw very often other than basic tosses around the infield. That would really help for a player recovering from a major reconstructive procedure on his elbow.

After winning the NL pennant last year, the Phillies have gone 4-8 so far this season in Harper’s absence. The good news though is that Harper’s return may be right around the corner.

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