Bryce Harper Mar 19, 2023; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Bryce Harper (3) signs autographs fro fans during a game against the Boston Red Sox in the fourth inning at BayCare Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

With each passing day, it seems that the Philadelphia Phillies continue to receive better and better news on Bryce Harper. The superstar slugger underwent Tommy John surgery in November and after arriving at spring training, he told reporters that he still has a “long way to go.”

While the Phillies originally gave a safe timetable of the All-Star break for Harper’s return, it could be even sooner.

According to Destiny Lugardo of Phillies Nation, Dave Dombrowski said on WIP-FM (Philadelphia) that the club was not planning on placing Harper on the 60-day injured list. That would open the door for Harper to return before May 29.

“We’re going to keep our options open,” Dombrowski said Tuesday via Lugardo.

The Phillies still have the ability to retroactively place Harper on the 60-day injured list, but Tuesday’s decision, or lack thereof, may signal that return could happen sooner rather than later.

After dealing with a UCL injury for the majority of the season and through the playoffs, Harper helped the Phillies to the World Series against the Houston Astros — the club’s first Fall Classic appearance since 2009. During last season’s playoffs, the two-time National League MVP hit for a .349 average with a 1.160 OPS and six home runs. During the regular season, he boasted a .286/.364/.514 line.

The Phillies will continue to be cautious with Harper, who appears to be ahead of schedule in his return to the diamond. In any event, the decision not to place Harper on the 60-day injured list could boost Philadelphia’s chances of winning a hotly contested National League East in 2023.

[Destiny Lugardo on Twitter]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.