Harper hits walk-off in rehab night after 2-homer game

August 25th, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- is making a late-season run at International League MVP.

The Phillies slugger went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs -- including a walk-off double -- in his second rehab game with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pa. He is 5-for-8 with two doubles, two home runs, two walks and six RBIs in two rehab games.

“I’m not surprised,” third baseman Alec Bohm said after the Phillies’ 7-5 victory over the Reds at Citizens Bank Park.

Everybody wants to know if Harper could be back before the Phillies fly to Phoenix on Sunday evening for a six-game road trip beginning Monday night against the D-backs at Chase Field. Harper can be activated as early as Thursday from the 60-day injured list.

Is this weekend a possibility?

“A possibility, yeah,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said before the game. “It just depends on how he feels. But that was pretty impressive [Tuesday] night.”

Harper, who hit two home runs for Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, has not played for the Phillies since he broke his left thumb on June 25 in San Diego. He planned to play with the IronPigs through Saturday and take Sunday off.

Presumably, it meant a Monday return in Arizona.

Harper could stick to that plan. After Tuesday’s game, he downplayed the idea that he will rush his return based on his impressive debut.

“Tonight was great, right?” he told The Associated Press. “But at the same time, I need the at-bats, I need to be able to see pitches, different guys, different angles, understanding how my body's going to react, what my thumb's going to be like.”

But now Harper has enjoyed two good games in a row.

Thomson joked that he texted Harper on Wednesday morning and said, “Look, your timing looks a little off. But keep working at it.”

Thomson said he plans to call Harper on Thursday morning to get a sense of how he feels.

Harper will DH whenever he returns to the Majors. He will not play right field until 2023 because of a torn UCL in his right elbow.

That is OK for now. The Phillies are second in the NL Wild Card race. They need his bat.

“We’re looking forward to getting him back,” Bohm said.