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Tumbling Bryce: Harper gives Phillies scare with crash landing in photo well

 WBN  |    Mar 30th, 2024 8:38pm EDT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper’s chase for a baseball into foul territory turned into fall territory when the Phillies first baseman took a spill into a photographer’s well.

Harper popped out fine — just banged up a bit, perhaps.

A two-time NL MVP, Harper is in his first full season playing first base after reconstructive elbow surgery forced him to move from right field.

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. He cartwheeled over a short railing and plopped into the photographer’s station. Harper lost his hat as a couple of TV cameramen helped up Harper. Harper walked over the rail to a standing ovation and remained in the game.

The ball knocked off the protective netting and landed on the dirt.

Harper was not in the postgame clubhouse following Atlanta’s 12-4 win over the Phillies on Saturday.

“It’s Bryce. He’s going to play the game hard, all the time,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “It’s tough to reign him in. It’s just the way it is. He’s probably going to be a little sore tomorrow.”

Harper went 0 for 3 with a walk before he was removed late in the game. Thomson said he replaced Harper to “get him off his feet” in a blowout game, not because of any lingering effects of the crash.

Phillies shortstop Trea Turner held his breath like the rest of the Phillies when he saw Harper disappear after his tumble.

“You never want to see that, but he’s tough,” Turner said. “He’s a superhero. He does stuff like that. He got a little nicked up. But he popped right back up. You expect that from him because he grinds it out.”

Harper started the day back at his catching roots. He caught one of the ceremonial first pitches thrown by retired Philadelphia Eagles Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox. Harper had his spikes signed by Kelce and the slugger mimicked Cox’s sack dance.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb