The Phillies were dealt a terrible blow on Friday when their reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch.  The result was a broken thumb.  The path forward is now much clearer for the superstar:  He will undergo surgery.

The Philadelphia Inquirer was the first to report that Harper will have his thumb surgically repaired.  The Phillies confirmed the news reporters on Tuesday.  The word, via Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia is that this will mean Harper will be out six weeks "give or take".

The Phillies were able to take two victories from the San Diego Padres without Harper.  They will need to remain competitive with their upcoming tough schedule.  The Phillies have three games against the Atlanta Braves and three against the St. Louis Cardinals in the nine-game homestand that begins Tuesday night.

The Phillies added a center fielder via a waiver claim on Monday night.  Oscar Mercado was placed on waivers by the Cleveland Guardians and the Phillies were awarded the claim.  Mercado is a strong defender in center field, though he was batting just .202 on the season.

While the Phillies cannot make up for an MVP-caliber player easily, having Mercado in center field, a defensive outfielder like Matt Vierling or Mickey Moniak in right field, and Nick Castellanos as the designated hitter would be an improved defense.  The Phillies have not yet made a 26-man roster move yet to add Mercado.  Out of options, Mercado will have to be added to the active roster.

The Phillies likely will be shopping as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

36 Restaurants to visit in Sea Isle City, NJ (Alphabetical Order)

More From 97.3 ESPN