Harper (thumb) took a round of batting practice Wednesday and will do so again later this week before potentially beginning a minor-league rehab assignment next Tuesday, Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Interim manager Rob Thomson said that if Harper's surgically repaired left thumb checks out fine following the two rounds of BP, the reigning National League MVP will likely report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to resume game action. Before landing on the IL on June 26, Harper had been serving exclusively as a designated hitter for Philadelphia since mid-April due to a torn ligament in his right elbow. Despite having ample time off to heal, Harper doesn't look on track to play the outfield again in 2022, as he had his throwing program tabled earlier this month when he experienced some stiffness in the elbow. The playoff-hopeful Phillies would still obviously welcome Harper back in an offense-only role, and though an official timeline for his return hasn't been established, club officials told Lauber that the 29-year-old is expected to be activated on or around Sept. 1 if he remains free of setbacks over the next couple of weeks.