TODAY: Harper left the game due to tightness in his lower back. Girardi told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki and other reporters that Harper might not play in today’s game, though Harper’s recurring back issues aren’t thought to be a long-term issue. “I think he’ll be a player for us on Friday,” Girardi said, referring to Philadelphia’s next game.
JUNE 15: Phillies star right fielder Bryce Harper was removed from tonight’s game against the Dodgers in the fourth inning, reports Matt Gelb of The Athletic. “Looks like he hurt his back on a swing,” according to Gelb.
Harper was day-to-day with lower back tightness at one point in mid-April, but only took one day off for the issue. He suffered a terrifying injury later that month, taking a Genesis Cabrera fastball to his left cheek. He actually avoided the IL immediately after that one, dealing with various nagging injuries until the Phillies put him on the shelf for a left forearm contusion in late May. Phils manager Joe Girardi wasn’t particularly forthcoming during that period, so who knows what we’ll get on the latest Harper injury. The Phillies, 4.5 games back in both the NL East and the Wild Card at the time of this writing, can’t afford an extended absence from Harper.
Meanwhile, we learned today that Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius has been slow to recover from an elbow injury due to something called “pseudogout.” According to the Mayo Clinic, pseudogout is “a form of arthritis characterized by sudden, painful swelling in one or more of your joints.” Gregorius last played for the Phillies on May 12th.