HOUSTON (AP) — Star slugger Bryce Harper could return to the Philadelphia Phillies lineup as early as Tuesday if an exam on his surgically repaired right elbow goes well.

On Monday in Los Angeles, the two-time National League MVP will visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Tommy John surgery on Harper last November.

“It’ll be tomorrow and then we’ll see what happens,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said Sunday. “I don’t think, just talking with Harp, I don’t think he’ll play tomorrow even if he’s cleared. But hopefully, he gets cleared.”

The Phillies open at three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.

If Harper returns Tuesday, it would be significantly ahead of the timetable offered soon after he had surgery on Nov. 23. He was initially expected to return around the All-Star break.

Harper, who has been facing pitching for a few weeks, will be the team’s designated hitter when he gets back.

“He’s pretty geeked up about getting out there and playing,” Thomson said. “He’s itching.”


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