SAN DIEGO (AP) — Bryce Harper saw the pitch flying toward his face, so he quickly turned his head and raised his left hand to protect himself.
Turns out, the Phillies slugger would rather he hadn’t.
Harper will be sidelined indefinitely with a broken left thumb after he was hit by a pitch from Blake Snell in Philadelphia’s 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
“I kind of wish it hit me in the face,” said Harper, who was wearing a splint on his thumb. “I don’t break bones in my face. I think I can take 98 (mph) to the face, but not 97 to the thumb. Yeah, I was kind of in protection mode a little bit trying to get my hand up there and not let it hit me again.
“It’s just a bummer. I am really bummed out.”
The reigning NL MVP, who missed only a few games last year when he was hit in the face by a fastball from St. Louis’ Genesis Cabrera, checked his swing as the 97 mph fastball from Snell rode inside and high toward his shoulder before hitting him on the outside of the left hand in the fourth inning.
Harper immediately fell to the ground and was in visible pain as he held his hand while on his knees for several minutes with Phillies head trainer Paul Buchheit attending to him.
Phillies general manager Dave Dombrowski, who traveled with the team on the road trip, said it was too early to determine if surgery will be needed. He added he wasn’t sure what type of fracture Harper had or where on his thumb the injury occurred. Harper said he would see a medical specialist when he returns to Philadelphia.
“We will put him on the injured list (Sunday),” Dombrowski said. “I was concerned at first he got hit in the face. I was concerned right off the bat because he is a tough guy and he walked off the field immediately.”
As Harper was halfway to Philadelphia’s…