Harper and Schwarber make their comeback from the injured list, starting for the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers

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Bryce Harper reacts after a double in the first inning

Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber have returned to the Philadelphia Phillies’ lineup after recovering from injuries sustained in late June against Miami. Their comeback is timely as the Phillies face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers, both teams leading their respective National League divisions.

Harper strained his left hamstring while running the bases in the ninth inning, while Schwarber injured his left groin making a throw from left field during the eighth inning of the same game. Without these key players, the Phillies managed a 5-4 record.

In Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers, Schwarber served as the designated hitter and led off, while Harper played first base and batted third. Harper expressed his intention to approach his return cautiously and play smart.

A former two-time NL MVP, Harper had an impressive season with a .303 batting average, 20 doubles, 20 home runs, and 58 RBIs. He was recognized as the National League player of the month for both May and June, ranking near the top in several statistical categories such as batting average, home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.

Phillies wallop Dodgers in battle atop NL as Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber return to lineup
Kyle Schwarber hits the ball for a single

Harper confirmed he would participate in the All-Star Game on July 16 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, having received the most votes in the NL and second-most in MLB after Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees. This marks Harper’s eighth All-Star selection and seventh as a starter, previously appearing as both an outfielder and designated hitter.

“I’m not hiding anything,” Harper said.

Schwarber was batting .250 with 17 home runs and 49 RBIs and led the NL in walks before getting injured while playing outfield for only the third time this season.

“I’m completely healthy now, and that was the most important thing,” Schwarber said. “The focus was on getting back to full health rather than pushing through and playing while not fully recovered.”

Ahead of their three-game series, the Phillies made roster moves by designating outfielder David Dahl for assignment and sending infielder Kody Clemens to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Clemens hit .242 in 24 games with the Phillies, while Dahl batted .207 in 19 games.

The Phillies are still missing catcher J.T. Realmuto, who underwent knee surgery in June to remove cartilage. The three-time All-Star hit seven home runs, and his 17-game hitting streak in May was the longest by a Phillies catcher in modern baseball history.

“Once we have J.T. back,” Schwarber said, “hopefully that’s the final hurdle we need to overcome to finish strong and healthy and see where we end up.”

Bryce Harper argues with the game umpire

Since Realmuto went on the 10-day IL on June 10, the Phillies have a record of 13-12. During Realmuto’s absence, Harper leads the team in OPS (1.185), Schwarber is second (1.096), and shortstop Trea Turner ranks third (.926).

The Phillies came into Tuesday night with the best record in baseball at 58-32, while the Dodgers led the NL West with a 55-36 record. The Phillies anticipated a large crowd at Citizens Bank Park — their season attendance of 1,919,133 is only surpassed by the Dodgers and Yankees. This marked Shohei Ohtani’s first visit of the season to Philadelphia.

“It’s always exciting when you step into a place, especially at home, and you know you’re going to feel the energy,” Schwarber said.

This game was the seventh time Harper and Ohtani have faced each other. Harper and Ohtani are two of just three active players in MLB who have won multiple MVP awards. Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout has three MVPs.


By Michael Smith

Hi. Hailing from Manila, I am an avid consumer of anime, gaming, football and professional wrestling. You can mostly find me either writing articles, binging shows or engaged in an engrossing discussion about the said interests.

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