‘Wish it would hit my face’: 97 mph fastball breaks NL MVP Bryce Harper’s thumb | Philadelphia Phillies


Bryce Harper will be sidelined indefinitely with a fractured left thumb after being hit by a Blake Snell throw in Philadelphia’s 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.

“I wish it would hit me in the face,” said Harper, who wore a splint on his thumb. “I don’t break any bones in my face. I think I can take 98 [mph] to the face but not 97 to the thumb. Yeah I was in protection mode a bit trying to get my hand up there and not get hit again. It’s just crap. I’m really devastated.”

The reigning NL MVP, who missed just a few games last year when he was hit in the face by a fastball from St. Louis’ Genesis Cabrera, controlled his momentum as Snell’s 97 mph fastball rode inward and high on his shoulder, before hitting him on the outside of the left hand in the fourth inning. Harper immediately fell to the ground and was in visible pain as he kept his hand on his knees for several minutes while Phillies head coach Paul Buchheit tended to him.

Phillies general manager Dave Dombrowski, who was traveling with the team on the road trip, said it was too early to determine if surgery was needed. He added he wasn’t sure what type of fracture Harper had or where the injury occurred on his thumb. Harper said he will see a specialist when he returns to Philadelphia.

“We will put him on the injured list,” said Dombrowski. “I was concerned at first that he was being punched in the face. I was immediately worried because he’s a tough guy and he walked off the field immediately.

When Harper was halfway to Philadelphia’s dugout, he appeared to yell angrily at Snell and gestured at the Padres’ starting pitcher. Snell finally yelled at Harper. Many of the fans at Petco Park began booing Harper after a few seconds, with Harper yelling at Snell.

Harper then seemed to calm down and said, “I know, I know” to Snell, acknowledging that the pitcher didn’t mean to hit him with the pitch.

“It wasn’t heated at all,” Harper said. “It was just the moment and a shitty situation. I’ve been playing Blake since we were 10, 11, so I know there’s no ill will at all. The infield is part of the game. He’s a great player and a great person too. I wish him the best and told him to keep throwing the inside fastball because he’s setting that slider really well.

Snell texted Harper and said the two were on good terms.

“Obviously I felt awful hitting him,” Snell said. “I don’t do that and he knows it. We talked, we handled it. He plays with a lot of passion and I can understand why he is upset. I’m just as upset as he is that I met him… I just hope he recovers quickly and gets back out there and keeps competing.

Snell added that he and Harper would see each other after the game on Saturday or Sunday.

Philadelphia will now have to move forward without its biggest racquet and barrel producer in Harper for much, if not the rest, of the season. Harper is hitting .318 with 15 homers, 48 ​​RBIs and .984 OPS in 64 games this season, despite a small tear in the UCL of his right elbow that has prevented him from playing outfield since April 16. He has attempted to avoid season-ending Tommy John surgery with a platelet-rich plasma injection and rest.

“He’s a guy who’s really irreplaceable as an individual, but we have to be in a position where other people have to step up,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll try to get someone here [on Sunday].”

Dombrowski said outfielder Mickey Moniak, the 2016 No. 1 overall who has struggled with limited action in the majors, would be an option to be called up to make up for the loss of Harper.

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