Bryce Harper Phillies is expected to return Tuesday versus the Dodgers if he is cleared

HOUSTON – Bryce Harper defied every conventional schedule as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, and now the operation has reached its tipping point. Harper will see the doctor Monday morning in Los Angeles. If cleared, he is expected to return to the Phillies’ lineup as the designated hitter Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium — just 160 days after surgery to rebuild his right elbow.

It’s an amazing development for the Phillies, who had been expecting months without Harper. But, as Harper’s body responded throughout the process, optimism grew. He only returns as a hitter, and that speeds things up. The current plan hinges on his appointment with Dr. Neil Alturk, the orthopedic surgeon who performed the Tommy John surgery in Harper on November 23. The Phillies decided that even if Harper was acquitted on Monday, he would not be activated Monday night.

But it’s close.

“He’s so obsessed with getting out and playing,” Phillies manager Rob Thompson said. “It itches.”

The club had originally scheduled Harper’s return as DH at some point “before the All-Star break”. If he was acquitted on Monday and returned on Tuesday, he would have beaten this projection by more than two months.

“Amazing,” said Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations. “He’s absolutely amazing. He’s a great athlete. He works hard. He’s focused. He wants to come back. I mean, what he’s accomplished is amazing. We have the next step (with the doctor to clear him). But the progress he’s made has been phenomenal.”

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