Sunday April 21st, 2024 11:05AM

Phillies Harper takes a day off in series finale with Braves

By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper was out of the starting lineup Sunday because of a scheduled day off — not because of any possible effects of his tumble into a photographer's well.

Manager Rob Thomson said Harper already was set for a maintenance day in the finale of a three-game series against the Braves even before he crashed while chasing down a foul ball on Saturday.

“It was kind of a scheduled day off just because he hasn't played much in the spring and then he falls into the camera well,” Thomson said Sunday.

Harper was not in the clubhouse during the time it was open to reporters. Thomson said about two hours before first pitch he had not seen Harper and didn't have an update on his health.

Thomson said Harper “felt pretty good” after Saturday's game. Harper did not talk to reporters after the game.

Thomson did not rule out using Harper as a pinch-hitter on Sunday. In a positive sign for the Phillies that Harper may really be feeling fine, he will start Monday against Cincinnati, Thomson said.

A two-time NL MVP, Harper is in his first full season playing first base after reconstructive elbow surgery forced him to move from right field.

Harper has been doggedly aggressive on most balls hit his way since he started playing first base last season. This one gave the Phillies a scare.

Atlanta’s Austin Riley popped a foul ball of Phillies starter Aaron Nola in the first inning that Harper chased down. He cartwheeled over a short railing and plopped into the photographer’s station in the dugout. Harper lost his hat but recovered and walked over the railing to a standing ovation and remained in the game.

The ball knocked off the protective netting and landed on the dirt.

Harper was lifted late because the game was out of hand in Atlanta's 12-4 win. The Phillies entered Sunday 0-2 and have allowed 21 runs.

Alec Bohm started at first base for the Phillies against Braves left-hander Chris Sale.

The 31-year-old Harper was hitless in six at-bats this season and has walked twice with three strikeouts.

“We're trying to take care of him,” Thomson said. “In the first month, we've got two days off. It's like spring training without the extra 44 players. And with a lefty matchup, we'll kick other guys in. We'll just protect him.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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