Zack Wheeler, Bryce Harper Injury Updates

PHILADELPHIA — Everyone expected an update on Zack Wheeler’s lower back injury on Wednesday.

No one expected Bryce Harper to sustain an injury to his left hand.

Harper did not start Wednesday night’s game against the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park because he bruised his glove hand trying to catch a ground ball in the first inning of Tuesday night’s 10-1 win over Los Angeles. Harper hit in the batting cage a few hours before Wednesday’s game to test his hand. It didn’t feel good enough to play.

“He just bruised his hand,” said manager Rob Thomson.

Wheeler left Tuesday night’s game after the fifth inning due to “lower left back tightness,” the team said. He didn’t appear to be concerned after the game, though he said he’s had back pain the past few starts.

But it was enough of a concern that Wheeler underwent an MRI Wednesday. Thomson said there was no structural damage to Wheeler’s back.

“He’s still a little stiff today,” Thomson said. “We’re going to be very careful with him.”

Wheeler is scheduled to start Sunday afternoon against the A’s in the team’s final game before the All-Star break. Thomson said the Phillies will learn more about Wheeler’s ability to pitch Sunday on Thursday. Asked about the advantages of potentially having him pitch on the final day before the break, Thomson said, “Just that you’ve got Zack Wheeler going in there.”

But now that they can configure the rotation as they please after the break, they could limit the risk to Wheeler’s back by giving him a few extra days of rest.

“We’re not going to risk anything,” Thomson said. “It just happens [Wheeler’s scheduled start is] on the perfect day — the day before the break. That way you can get all your bullpen arms throwing in the game and they don’t have five days off after the break, but we’ll see how he is tomorrow.

“I’m not really worried. He’s been through this before. He’ll be fine. It’s just back spasms, honestly.”

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