The Phillies took just one game out of three in New York against the Mets this weekend.  After winning the Max Scherzer start, the Phillies were shut out by Jacob deGrom and company, and once again by Chris Bassitt and the Mets bullpen.  One could not help but think, "If Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper were here this could be different".

The Phillies could be closer to Harper returning.  Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson told reporters, including Matt Gelb of the Athletic, that Harper will take an important step on Monday afternoon:  He will take batting practice at Citizens Bank Park while the Phillies are in Cincinnati to face the Reds.

A rehab assignment could soon follow.  Minor League Baseball is off on Mondays; the schedule is Tuesday through Sunday.  How soon Harper will take a trip to a Phillies affiliate remains to be seen.  Double-A Reading opens a home series on Tuesday, as does Class A+ Jersey Shore.   Triple-A Lehigh Valley is going to be on the road.

When Harper returns he will likely be used exclusively as a designated hitter.  Harper had been in a throwing program, which he suspended last week.   "Tommy John" surgery is a possibility this offseason.

Meanwhile Kyle Schwarber sat out Sunday's finale against the Mets.  It's possible he starts games again in the Reds series this week.  He has been out of the lineup nursing a sore calf, though he pinch-hit on Saturday.

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