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Thursday February 2nd, 2023 7:13AM

Bryce Harper back in Phillies' lineup after 52-game absence

By The Associated Press
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper was back in the Phillies' starting lineup for Friday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates after missing 52 games with a broken left thumb.

The NL MVP was batting cleanup as the designated hitter for his first game since getting plunked by San Diego Padres left-hander Blake Snell on June 25.

Surging Philadelphia is coming off a four-game home sweep of Cincinnati and is 32-20 since Harper last played. The Phillies began play Friday in the second NL wild-card spot.

Harper is batting .318 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs in 64 games. He went 5-for-8 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in a pair of rehab starts at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Phillies had planned to keep Harper in Triple-A through Saturday, but his return to the big leagues was moved up after his walk-off double for the IronPigs on Wednesday night.

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