Phillies lose Bryce Harper indefinitely with broken left thumb

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Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper suffered a broken left thumb when he was struck by a pitch from Blake Snell Saturday night, an injury that immediately sidelines the reigning National League MVP for at least the foreseeable future.

Harper was injured in the fourth inning of the Phillies’ 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres in Petco Park when he checked his swing as the pitch rose, and the ball struck his hand as he leaned away. The team announced that he will be out indefinitely, with further medical evaluations planned in the next few days.

“I’ve never had a hand injury like this,” Harper told reporters as he stood at his locker, wearing a splint on his thumb after the game. “Never broken anything in my life. This is new to me, so I’m just gonna go day by day, see kind of where we’re at and see the specialist in Philly. And if I do need to see another specialist somewhere, then I will.”

In immediate and obvious pain, he fell to his knees, holding his hand as Phillies trainer Paul Buchheit came onto the field. There were no immediate details on the fracture and Phillies General Manager Dave Dombrowski, who was traveling with the team, said it was unclear whether he would need surgery. Last season, Harper managed to miss only a few games after being struck in the face by a fastball thrown by Genesis Cabrera of the St. Louis Cardinals, but this is a clearly different type of injury.

“I kind of wish it would’ve hit me in the face. I don’t break bones in my face,” Harper said with a laugh. “I can take [a] 98 [mph pitch] to the face, but I can’t take 97 to the thumb. Yeah, I was kind of in protection mode a little bit trying to get my hand up there and not let it hit me again.

“It’s just a bummer. I am really bummed out.”

That was apparent as he left the field, angrily directing comments toward Snell, who gestured that it was not intentional. Moments later, Harper seemed to say, “I know, I know.”

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“It wasn’t heated at all,” Harper said. “It was just the moment and a crappy situation. I’ve been playing against Blake since we were 10, 11 years old, so I know there was no ill will behind that at all. The inside pitch is part of the game. He is a great player and a great human being as well. I wish him the best, and I told him to keep throwing that inside fastball because it sets that slider really good.”

Snell told reporters that he had texted Harper. “Obviously, I felt terrible hitting him,” Snell said. “I don’t do that, and he knows that. We’ve talked. We’ve handled it. He plays with a lot of passion, and I can understand why he’d be upset. I’m just as upset as he is. … I just hope he recovers quickly and gets back out there and continues to compete.”

Harper, who will be placed on the injured list Sunday, is hitting .318 with 15 home runs, 48 RBI and a .985 OPS this season in 64 games. Because of a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, he has not played in the outfield since April 16 and has hoped that a platelet-rich plasma injection and rest would allow him to continue to play while avoiding season-ending Tommy John surgery.

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