PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Phillies first baseman/designated hitter Bryce Harper walked out of Thursday night’s game against the Washington Nationals with what the team called a middle back spasm.
The Phillies said Harper is being investigated. Manager Rob Thomson said Harper is everyday.
Harper was originally credited with an error on a fourth-inning grounder by Dominic Smith when he attempted to catch a ball that hit first basebag and then bounced off his chest. The piece was later counted as a hit.
After Harper grabbed the loose ball, television footage showed him trying to bend his legs and shoulders to loosen up his back. He stayed in the game before being pulled out of the game early in the fifth inning.
“The coaches were just telling me between innings that it had gotten stiffer, and I was like, ‘That’s it,'” Thomson said.
Harper played his 12th game at first base after starting 70 games as a designated hitter after Tommy John underwent offseason surgery that limited him to just eight games in right field in 2022. Having played 1,446 games as an outfielder or designated hitter, he had not previously played the infield.
Harper hits .293 with seven homers and 38 RBI. He was replaced at first base by Alec Bohm, who made most starts in Philadelphia at that position, and replaced Rhys Hoskins, who was out late in spring practice with a left anterior cruciate ligament tear.