SAN DIEGO — Bryce Harper will be sidelined indefinitely with a broken left thumb after he was hit by a pitch from Blake Snell in the Philadelphia Phillies' 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
The reigning NL MVP checked his swing as the 97-mph fastball from Snell rode inside and high toward his shoulder before hitting him on the outside of the left hand in the fourth inning. At first it looked as if Harper may have been hit in the face and he was asked about that.
“I kind of wish it hit me in the face, I don’t break bones in my face. I think I can take 98 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,” Harper said. "It’s just a bummer. I am really bummed out.”
Harper immediately fell to the ground after being hit and was in visible pain as he held his hand while on his knees for several minutes with Phillies head trainer Paul Buchheit attending to him.
As Harper was halfway to Philadelphia’s dugout, he angrily yelled at Snell and motioned with his hand at the Padres starting pitcher. Snell eventually shouted back at Harper. Many of the fans at Petco Park fans started to boo Harper after several seconds with Harper shouting at Snell.
Harper then appeared to cool down and say, “I know, I know” to Snell, acknowledging that the pitcher didn’t mean to hit him with the pitch.
“It wasn’t heated at all. 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," Harper said. “He (Snell) 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. ”
For Snell's part, he reached out to Harper during the game via text and the two worked out any issues and both he and Harper said they are on good terms.
“Obviously, I felt terrible hitting him. I don't do that and he knows that. We've talked, we've handled it,” Snell said. “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.”
Snell added that he and Harper were going to see each other after Saturday's game or on Sunday.
Harper, who was wearing splint on his left thumb, said he was going to see a medical specialist when he is back in Philly.
The Phillies got all the runs they would need in this one off Snell (0-5) in the fifth inning. J.T. Realmuto hit a solo home run, and Alec Bohm followed with a double. Didi Gregorius singled to put runners on first and third, and Yairo Munoz had a run-scoring groundout and Kyle Schwarber an RBI single.
Phillies starter Zach Eflin (3-5) pitched five effective innings, allowing four hits — including Jorge Alfaro’s two-run double in the fifth — while striking out three and walking two. Seranthony Dominguez got three outs for his second save of the season.
Phillies general manager Dave Dombrowski, who traveled with the team on the road trip, said it was too early to determine if surgery will be needed. He added he wasn’t sure what type of fracture Harper had or where on his thumb the injury occurred.
“We will put him on the injured list (Sunday),” Dombrowski said. “I was concerned at first he got hit in the face. I was concerned right off the bat because he is a tough guy and he walked off the field immediately.”
Philadelphia will now have to move forward for much — or perhaps the rest — of the season without its biggest bat and run producer.
“Bryce is a guy who really isn’t replaceable on an individual basis, but we are going to have to be in a position that other people are going to have to step up,” Dombrowski said. “We will make a move to try and get someone here (Sunday).”
“Bryce knows he (Snell) wasn’t trying to throw at him,” Dombrowski said. “It was just an emotional time. Bryce has had bad luck — last year he was hit in the face and this year he has had a couple of injuries.”