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Bryce Harper likes deadline moves, aims for ‘September-ish’ return

Bryce Harper likes deadline moves, aims for ‘September-ish’ return originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

For the first time since suffering a broken left thumb on June 25, Bryce Harper on Thursday put a loose timeline on his expected return.

“September-ish,” he said.

Harper remains reluctant to put a hard timetable on his return because anything can happen in injury recovery.

He had the surgical pins removed from the injured thumb on Monday and is hitting balls off a tee – just about 20 a day, but it’s a start.

Harper is also doing some light throwing, which is newsworthy because he’s also got a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

“I don’t feel it at all pain-wise,” Harper said. “But it’s a lob toss.”

Harper’s immediate priority is building strength in his left thumb and hand. That’s what’s going to get him back in the lineup as the Phillies’ designated hitter.

The elbow will continue to be evaluated for the possibility of offseason surgery.

“It’s kind of on the back burner for me,” Harper said of the elbow. “I just want to get back in the lineup. I want to start hitting. I am not looking to get back to throwing as quickly as possible because I really want to hit, so maybe in the offseason I’ll start throwing more.”

Before signing with the Phillies in March 2019, Harper sought assurances from ownership that it would upgrade the team whenever possible in a quest to win. Harper likes the moves the club made at the trade deadline. One of the additions, reliever David Robertson, saved Wednesday’s win in Atlanta. The other two, pitcher Noah Syndergaard and center fielder Brandon Marsh, were in the starting lineup Thursday night against Washington.

“I thought it was great,” Harper said of the deadline. “Dave Dombrowski added what we needed.”

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