Baseball fans everywhere and Philadelphia Phillies fans were dealt some bad news as reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper suffered a devastating injury in Philadelphia’s victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.

Harper was hit in the thumb by an errant pitch from San Diego’s Blake Snell. Later, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported that Harper had fractured his left thumb.

Saturday’s win moved Philadelphia’s record to 38-35, only 2.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers — who are presently tied for both the National League Central lead and the third Wild Card spot in the National League — and two behind the San Francisco Giants.

But while the Phillies are well within striking distance, replacing Harper’s bat in the lineup will be next to impossible. Harper is not only the reigning NL MVP but is hitting .318/.385/.599 on the season with 15 home runs. Over his last 162 games, Harper’s numbers have been video game worthy.

Naturally, MLB fans were saddened to hear about Harper’s injury.

While Harper was initially visibly upset, he quickly calmed down and accepted Snell’s apology. Also, after the game, Harper said that he and Snell had exchanged text messages.

If there’s a sliver of hope to be had regarding the severity of the injury, it’s that in the immediate aftermath, it was not known if surgery would be required.

The hope is obviously that surgery won’t be needed and that Harper will not miss the remainder of the season.

That said, even the best-case scenario will still leave Harper out for a substantial amount of time. That will not only be a significant blow to Philadelphia’s postseason hopes but will also mean one of baseball’s best players will not be on the field for at least several weeks.

[NBC Sports Philadelphia, Todd Zolecki, Alex Coffey]

About Michael Dixon

Michael has a background in sports writing both online (Bleacher Report, Sportsnaut, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks) and in print (Sedona Red Rock News, Brentwood Press). Sports have been a lifeline passion for Michael and he continues to enjoy writing and talking about them.