The Phillies later announced that he’d fractured his left thumband that he’ll be out indefinitely. He’ll undergo further evaluation in the coming days.
“I kind of wish it hit me in the face,” Harper said, via The Associated Press. “I don’t break bones in my face. I think I can take 98 (mph) to the face, but not 97 to the thumb. Yeah, I was kind of in protection mode a little bit trying to get my hand up there and not let it hit me again.
“It’s just a bummer. I am really bummed out.”
Harper was hit during a fourth-inning at-bat against San Diego starter Blake Snell. Snell unleashed his 2-2 fastball up and in. Harper wasn’t able to get out of the way. The ball hit Harper in his hands, and he immediately fell to the ground in pain.
Replay shows the ball hit Harper squarely on his hands.
Harper was visibly upset when he got up, apparently realizing the he was injured.
After exchanging words with Snell, he appeared to tell the Padres pitcher that he doesn’t believe that he meant to hit him.
Snell said he texted Harper after the game.
“Obviously, I felt terrible hitting him,” Snell said, via The Associated Press. “I don’t do that and he knows that. We’ve talked, we’ve handled it. He plays with a lot of passion and I can understand why he’d be upset. I’m just as upset as he is — I hit him. … I just hope he recovers quickly and gets back out there and continues to compete.”
Harper then walked to the Phillies clubhouse to receive a medical evaluation.
“It wasn’t heated at all,” Harper said, via The Associated Press. “It was just the moment and a crappy situation. I’ve been playing against Blake since we were 10, 11 years old so I know there was no ill-will behind that at all. The inside pitch is part of the game. He is a great player and a great human being as well. I wish him the best and I told him to keep throwing that inside fastball because it sets that slider really good.”
Harper had played much of the season with a UCL tear in his right elbow that’s prevented him from playing in the outfield. The injury didn’t risk further damage or prevent him from swinging, so he’d remained in the Phillies lineup thanks to the rule change allowing designated hitters in the National League. The thumb fracture obviously changes his outlook.
Harper, a six-time All-Star, is coming off his second NL MVP campaign. Through 63 games this season, he slashed .320/.385/.602 with 15 home runs, 48 RBI and nine stolen bases. The Phillies entered play on Saturday at 37-35, 9.5 games behind the first-place Mets in the NL East. Their hopes of competing for a playoff spot took a significant blow with the loss of their best player.