Bryce Harper out of Phillies lineup with sore hand, Zack Wheeler questionable for Sunday – NBC Sports Philadelphia

At that point, in the first inning of Tuesday night to be exact, the game seemed pretty routine. Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman grounded out to the right side of the infield. The ball bounced off the glove of Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper, who caught it and retired the runner.

Harper, who was scheduled to start in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, shook his hand for a few moments immediately afterward, a telling hint that the ball might have touched some flesh, too. “The hand’s fine,” manager Rob Thomson said after the game, brushing off the question.

Or not.

The Phillies’ lineup for Wednesday night’s middle game against the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park was announced unusually late because Harper was still in the batting cage, testing his bruised and sore hand.

In the end he did not start. Alec Bohm moved from third to first and Edmundo Sosa took his place.

That was just one of three injury updates Wednesday afternoon that were more annoying in the short term than concerning in the long term.

All-Star right-hander Zack Wheeler, who left Tuesday night’s start after five dominant innings with stiffness in his lower left back, remains questionable for his scheduled start Sunday against the Athletics. Center fielder Johan Rojas, who was hit on the hand by a pitch, also was out of the lineup. Thomson had downplayed the seriousness of both injuries after the game.

Seated Harper and Rojas were presented as a strict precaution.

“I’m always wary of hand and foot injuries because it changes your swing a little bit. If this was a playoff game or something, (Rojas) could play,” the manager said. “Harp, we just want to make sure he can swing efficiently.”

Wheeler had an MRI on Wednesday that showed no structural damage, but he was still in pain. “We’re going to be very careful with him,” Thomson said, a change from the night before when he said he “assumed” the 34-year-old would bounce back.

When asked directly what the advantage would be if Wheeler practiced on Sunday, since he would have at least 10 days to recover if he skipped that start and then took the All-Star break, Thomson replied that he would simply have one of the best pitchers in baseball on the mound.

But, he added: “We’re not going to risk anything. And it just happens, really, on the perfect day. The day before the break. That way you can get all your bullpen arms throwing and they don’t have five days off after the break.

It had previously been announced that Wheeler, like every All-Star pitcher scheduled to pitch on Sunday, would not participate in the game.


Right-hander Taijuan Walker threw a bullpen Wednesday afternoon. “He looked good to me. His split looked good,” Thomson said. “I’m not sure about velo, but Saturday he’s either going to throw another bullpen or pitch BP.”

The manager suspected that Walker, who is on the IL with an inflammation in his right index finger that is believed to be the reason he cannot throw his splitter effectively, would need several rehab starts before he could return to action.


RHP Landon Knack (1-2, 2.86) will start the series finale for the Dodgers against RHP Aaron Nola (10-4, 4.38) on Thursday at 6:05 p.m.

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