Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper has been cleared to make his 2023 MLB debut this week, just five months after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN on Monday (May 1).
Harper, a two-time National League MVP, is expected to serve as designated hitter during the Phillies' game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday (May 2) night. The 30-year-old underwent reconstructive surgery on his throwing elbow on November 23 and was initially expected to be ruled out until July, however, has made better progress than expected, which has led to his return taking place two months early.
Harper met with surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache -- who performed the procedure -- on Monday and was reportedly given medical clearance to return, later posting a photo of himself in full uniform on Instagram, with the caption, "Aye Pham. You ready?"
Harper would be the fastest known baseball player to ever return from Tommy John Surgery should he start on Tuesday, just 160 days removed from the procedure. Former St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tony Womack has the current record for fastest return from Tommy John Surgery at 182 days between his procedure and return in 2014.
Harper won his second career NL MVP -- first with Philadelphia -- in 2021 and led the Phillies to a National League championship in 2022, which included playing through the shoulder injury during the World Series, hitting for a .200 average, one home run, four hits, 2 RBIs and two runs scored in six games.
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