Seven-time All-Star Bryce Harper will play first base when the Phillies visit the Guardians on Friday night.
Philadelphia’s power-hitting clean-up hitter will make his third career appearance for the club at first base when the team begins a three-game Interleague series against Cleveland. The Phillies, who sit 52–44, 10 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League East, want to see how Harper transitions into the infield before the trade deadline.
The Phillies, who trail the Diamondbacks and the Giants by just 1 1/2 games for the top wild-card spot in the National League, must add more to the lineup on Aug. 1. Slugging outfielder Kyle Schwarber, who leads the club with 26 home runs, is the only player on the roster to hit more than 14 homers this season.
Harper, fresh off Tommy John surgery, has struggled with his power production, hitting just four home runs in 63 games this season. The 11-year veteran, who usually plays in the outfield, hasn’t played defense this year as the team has been careful to protect his surgically-repaired elbow by starting him at DH.
In his 1,258 career MLB games, Harper has made two previous appearances at first base, once in 2018 and once in ’21.
Rob Thomson’s club, which has won four of seven games since the All-Star break, hopes the two-time National League MVP can successfully manage a change in position as it begins to sort out its plan for the trade deadline.