Phillies' Bryce Harper gets rest day after hard fall

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Sunday, March 31, 2024

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper was out of the starting lineup Sunday because of a scheduled day off -- not because of any possible effects of his tumble into a photographer's well, manager Rob Thomson said.

Thomson said Harper already was set for a maintenance day in the finale of a three-game series against the Braves, which Philadelphia won 5-4, even before he crashed while chasing down a foul ball on Saturday.

"It was kind of a scheduled day off just because he hasn't played much in the spring and then he falls into the camera well," Thomson said Sunday.

Thomson said Harper was not available to pinch hit Sunday because the slugger "was a little sore from the tumble."

"We're trying to take care of him," Thomson said. "In the first month, we've got two days off. It's like spring training without the extra 44 players. And with a lefty matchup, we'll kick other guys in. We'll just protect him."

Alec Bohm started at first base for the Phillies against Braves left-hander Chris Sale.

Harper said after the game he was fine and ready to start Monday against theCincinnati Reds.

"What happened yesterday I don't think really had any merit on today," Harper said. "Definitely looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow."

A two-time NL MVP, Harper, 31, is in his first full season playing first base after reconstructive elbow surgery forced him to move from right field. He is hitless in six at-bats this season and has walked twice with three strikeouts.

Harper has been doggedly aggressive on most balls hit his way since he started playing first base last season. This one gave the Phillies a scare.

Atlanta's Austin Riley popped a foul ball of Phillies starter Aaron Nola in the first inning that Harper chased down, but did not catch. He cartwheeled over a short railing and plopped into the photographer's station in the dugout. Harper lost his hat but recovered and walked over the railing to a standing ovation and remained in the game until he was lifted late in a 12-4 loss.

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