Where is Bryce Harper? Why Phillies star will miss 2023 World Baseball Classic

The United States has a strong roster for the 2023 World Baseball Classic, but it will be without one of its biggest stars: Las Vegas-born Bryce Harper, who led the Phillies to a World Series berth last season.

MLB fans will miss that Harper doesn’t share an outfield with Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, but Harper is still recovering from elbow surgery he had after the Phillies lost to the Astros in the World Series. He will also be absent for a large part of the 2023 season; He is expected to return around the All-Star break.

Harper averaged .286/.364/.514 (145 OPS+) with 18 home runs last season. He was named the NLCS MVP after batting .400 and hitting .850 with two homers in five games against the Phillies.

Harper was announced as a US player for the World Baseball Classic last August but had to pull out due to injury.

Here’s more on why Bryce Harper won’t be attending the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

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Why isn’t Bryce Harper at the 2023 World Baseball Classic?

Bryce Harper is not playing the World Baseball Classic because he is recovering from off-season Tommy John surgery. The procedure was carried out after the World Series.

Harper tore the UCL in a right-elbow throw from right field last April, but he was able to play it through as the Phillies’ full-time DH. In June he suffered a broken thumb when struck by bad luck. He underwent surgery in July, with pins placed in his thumbs.

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Harper came back and played out the rest of the season. He was the Phillies DH for 90 games and only played eight games in the field.

Elbow surgery was an option early in the injury, meaning there was always optimism about his participation in the WBC.

How long will Bryce Harper be out?

Harper is expected to miss the start of the 2023 season. He will likely return until the All-Star break.

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Whenever he comes back, he will come back exclusively as DH. Harper will likely have to wait until the end of the season to play on the field.

The Phillies have a roster strong enough to compete without Harper, but he’ll be a vital part of any run they make late in the season.

Bryce Harper injury history

The 2022 season was the first of Harper’s career where he didn’t play 100 or more games in a full season, but he has struggled with injuries throughout his time in the majors.

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In 2013, Harper underwent offseason surgery to remove a bursa after playing in 118 games. He underwent surgery to repair ligaments in his thumb in 2014 and ended up playing 100 games. Harper ended up on the injured list in 2017 after hyperextending his knee. In 2022, he snapped his UCL on a throw from right field and later broke his thumb after being hit by the Padres’ Blake Snell.

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Tommy John’s rehab also makes time for position players. It’s understood the Phillies will be conservative with Harper’s rehab to ensure he isn’t pushed back. Harper has started teeing off at Phillies spring practice and reports have been that he could start batting practice before camp is over.

The only thing that is certain in mid-March is that Harper will not play for the USA at the World Baseball Classic. While that’s disappointing for the team and its fans, USA have the depth to go on without him.

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