Bryce Harper gets extended ovation in return to Philadelphia

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper was saluted with a 25-second standing ovation prior to his first at-bat in the game against the Boston Red Sox.

Harper was playing his first game in Philadelphia since he had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in the offseason.

Under baseball’s new rules, players need to be in the batter’s box and ready to hit with eight seconds remaining on the pitch clock or they will be charged with a strike. Exceptions to the rule must be granted by Major League Baseball, and the Phillies requested extra time for Harper’s return.

Phillies fans gave Harper a loud ovation and chanted “M-V-P! M-V-P!” before Harper’s at-bat. He went on to strike out swinging against Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale.

Harper was playing his third game since returning from surgery. He last played in Philadelphia on Nov. 3, when Philadelphia lost 3-2 to Houston in Game 5 of the World Series. Two nights later, the Astros won the series in Houston.

The 30-year-old Harper is in the fifth season of a 13-year, $330 million deal he signed with the Phillies prior to the 2019 season.

Harper entered with three hits in seven at-bats this season. The two-time NL MVP reached base in all five plate appearances in Philadelphia’s 10-6 loss at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Harper is going to continue at designated hitter while building up throwing strength in his right arm. When he is ready, Harper is expected to shift from the outfield to first base, a position he has never played at the major league level. He has been working regularly with Philadelphia coach Bobby Dickerson on first-base mechanics.

Dodgers place pitcher Noah Syndergaard on injured list with no timetable for return

dodgers syndergaard
Katie Stratman/USA TODAY Sports

CINCINNATI — The Los Angeles Dodgers placed pitcher Noah Syndergaard on the 15-day injured list Thursday with a blister on the index finger of his right throwing hand.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the timetable for Syndergaard’s return is unknown despite the 15-day designation.

“The physical, the mental, the emotional part, as he’s talked about, has taken a toll on him,” Roberts said. “So, the ability to get him away from this. He left today to go back to Los Angeles to kind of get back to normalcy.”

Syndergaard allowed six runs and seven hits in three innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, raising his ERA to 7.16.

Syndergaard (1-4) has surrendered at least five runs in three straight starts.

Syndergaard has been trying to return to the player he was before Tommy John surgery sidelined him for the better part of the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Roberts said Syndergaard will need at least “a few weeks” to both heal and get away from baseball and “reset.”

“I think searching and not being comfortable with where he was at in the moment is certainly evident in performance,” Roberts said. “So hopefully this time away will provide more clarity on who he is right now as a pitcher.

“Trying to perform when you’re searching at this level is extremely difficult. I applaud him from not running from it, but it’s still very difficult. Hopefully it can be a tale of two stories, two halves when he does come back.”