Bryce Harper might not be back sooner than expected, but all indications from president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski are the Philadelphia Phillies' slugger won't be later than projected, either.
Dombrowski said Tuesday on SportsRadio 94 WIP that the Phillies will hold Harper on the 40-man roster rather than pushing him to the 60-day injured list, which was considered a formality following offseason elbow surgery.
"We're going to keep our options open," Dombrowski said.
Harper underwent Tommy John surgery in November and said earlier this month he wasn't ready to talk about timetables for his potential return to the team.
"I think today we'll probably go over that a little bit more, get a sense of where they're at, where I'm at," Harper said. "I had a great offseason. After I had surgery I felt really good. I still feel good now. I don't want to put a timeline on anything. I've never dealt with anything like an elbow. So it's definitely different waters for me."
The Phillies initially said Harper's likely return would be near the All-Star break in July. Harper said he was comfortable with that projection, but did note the date is subject to change.
"Things can change either way," Harper said. "I can be after, I can be before. As of now, that's the date we solidified. We're not going to rush. We're going to be smart about it. We knew at the end of the year last year that this might happen. So we're thankful for the DH -- again. I mean, I was so against it, but I'm all about it. I love doing it, too."
Harper, 30, originally sustained the injury on April 11 and ended up moving from the outfield to designated hitter for the remainder of the season as the Phillies captured their first pennant since 2009.
Harper hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs in 99 games last season. He batted .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games, with the Phillies losing the World Series to the Houston Astros in six games.
The seven-time All-Star has 285 homers, 817 RBIs and a .280 batting average in 1,382 games with the Washington Nationals (2012-18) and Phillies.
--Field Level Media