Harper jacks 3 homers for first hits of ’24 season

MLB

PHILADELPHIA — Bryce Harper‘s first hit of the season was a big one. Same for his second. And his third.

Harper homered in each of his first three at-bats for Philadelphia during Tuesday night’s game against Cincinnati. The two-time NL MVP went 0 for 11 while playing in three of the Phillies’ first four games.

The 31-year-old Harper drove a 1-2 cut fastball from Graham Ashcraft deep to center in the first inning. The 420-foot solo shot had an exit velocity of 107.7 mph.

He came up again in the fourth and hit another solo shot to right. The 367-foot homer on the first pitch of the at-bat gave Harper 1,000 career runs.

Harper then made it 3-for-3 in the bottom of the seventh, launching a 422-foot grand slam to right-center on a full-count sinker from Brent Suter to put the Phils up 8-1.

It was Harper’s 26th career multi-homer game. The seven-time All-Star last accomplished the feat on Aug. 16, 2023, at Toronto.

Harper was hampered by back tightness at the end of spring training, possibly contributing to his slow start. He is in his first full season playing first base after reconstructive elbow surgery forced him to move from right field.

He tumbled into a photographer’s well on Saturday and then rested during Sunday’s 5-4 win over Atlanta.

The Phillies said it was a scheduled day off, but after the game manager Rob Thomson said Harper was sore. Thomson was noncommittal about playing Harper on Tuesday night, concerned about the weather forecast, but he kept the slugger in the lineup.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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