Phils’ Harper: ‘Had angel on my side’ with HBP

    Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers MLB for ESPN.com.

Though Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper won’t play Friday night against the New York Mets because of a sore wrist, he said he is grateful he’s not missing more time after getting hit in the face by a 96.9 mph fastball on Wednesday.

“I definitely had an angel on my side out there that night,” Harper said in a Zoom conference call with reporters. “I’m super excited and blessed to have this conversation with you guys right now.”

St. Louis Cardinals reliever Genesis Cabrera hit Harper on the left side of his face before the ball deflected onto his wrist. Though he had blood near his nose, Harper walked off the field on his own. He was taken to the hospital for a scan, which came up clean.

“The first 30 minutes to an hour after, I was kind of worried,” Harper said. “What’s going on with my head? What going on with my face, my body? Am I going to be OK? It was definitely a whirlwind of emotions at the time.”

Harper said he had a restless night, wondering how much worse it could have been for him.

“I was in a lot of pain,” he said. “I didn’t sleep well that night at all. And just the replaying in my mind the whole situation, thinking, you’re talking about a couple inches up or a couple inches over, we might be having a different situation.”

Harper said he awoke to a text message from Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, sending get-well wishes from the whole organization. Harper responded, wanting to make sure Cabrera was doing OK as well.

“It happens,” Harper said. “I have no ill will towards him at all.”

Harper indicated he was feeling fine but didn’t want to push getting back in the lineup. He said his wrist is sore and is the bigger issue than getting hit in the face.

“I don’t want to be dumb and go out there and play just to look tough,” Harper said. “There have been so many times where I’ve done that.”

Also Friday, the Phillies placed shortstop Didi Gregorius on the COVID-related injury list and recalled catcher Rafael Marchan from the alternate training site. Catcher J.T. Realmuto was dropped from Friday’s lineup against the Mets with no reason given.

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