HOUSTON — Star slugger Bryce Harper could return to the Philadelphia Phillies lineup as early as Tuesday if an exam on his surgically repaired right elbow goes well.
On Monday in Los Angeles, the two-time National League MVP will visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Tommy John surgery on Harper last November.
“It’ll be tomorrow and then we’ll see what happens,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “I don’t think, just talking with Harp, I don’t think he’ll play tomorrow even if he’s cleared. But hopefully, he gets cleared.”
The Phillies open at three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If Harper returns, it would be significantly ahead of the timetable offered soon after he had surgery on Nov. 23. He was initially expected to return around the All-Star break.
Harper, who has been facing pitching for a few weeks, will be the team’s designated hitter when he gets back.
“He’s pretty geeked up about getting out there and playing,” Thomson said. “He’s itching.”
PITTSBURGH — The New York Mets will have to dig out of an early-season hole without star first baseman Pete Alonso.
The leading home run hitter in the majors will miss three-to-four weeks with a bone bruise and a sprain in his left wrist.
The Mets placed Alonso on the 10-day injured list Friday, retroactive to June 8. Alonso was hit in the wrist by a 96 mph fastball from Charlie Morton in the first inning of a 7-5 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.
Alonso traveled to New York for testing on Thursday. X-rays revealed no broken bones, but the Mets will be missing one of the premier power hitters in the game as they try to work their way back into contention in the NL East.
“We got better news than it could have been,” New York manager Buck Showalter said. “So we take that as a positive. It could have been worse.”
New York had lost six straight heading into a three-game series at Pittsburgh that began Friday. Mark Canha started at first for the Mets in the opener. Mark Vientos could also be an option, though Showalter said the coaching staff may have to use its “imagination” in thinking of ways to get by without Alonso.
“I’m not going to say someone has to step up and all that stuff,” Showalter said. “You’ve just got to be who you are.”
Even with Alonso in the lineup, the Mets have struggled to score consistently. New York is 16th in the majors in runs scored.
The team also said Friday that reliever Edwin Uceta had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Uceta initially went on the IL in April with what the team called a sprained left ankle. He is expected to be out for at least an additional eight weeks.
New York recalled infielder Luis Guillorme and left-handed reliever Zach Muckenhirn from Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets sent catcher Tomás Nido to Triple-A and designated reliever Stephen Nogosek for assignment.
Nogosek is 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 13 games this season.