Reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper is the latest star who has agreed to play for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic:
Harper is the second member of the Philadelphia Phillies to commit to playing in the WBC this week, joining catcher J.T. Realmuto. Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Trevor Story have also said they will suit up in the red, white and blue.
Perhaps the only thing that could prevent Harper from playing in the WBC next March is if he ultimately needs to undergo Tommy John surgery or another procedure this offseason to correct the small tear in his right UCL. Harper had a PRP injection in the elbow back in mid-May, and had been limited to just DH. Earlier this week, the Phillies reported that they were cutting back on Harper's throwing program after he had begun to experience stiffness in the elbow.
Harper hasn't played for the Phillies since being hit by a Blake Snell pitch on June 25, which broke his left thumb. The pins inserted during surgery were removed from Harper's thumb on Aug. 1. The seven-time All-Star is currently progressing towards a late-season return, likely one that will be as a DH.
The two-time NL MVP was putting together another monster offensive season before breaking his thumb, as he was slashing .318/.385/.599 with 15 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .985 OPS.
If Harper is ultimately able to play for Team USA, he'll join a squad that's attempting to defend their 2017 championship.