Joe Girardi describes lies about Bryce Harper’s health as “distinct advantages”

Phillies Bryce Harper
Phillies star Bryce Harper will be out for at least a week-and-a-half.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies are going to be without Bryce Harper for at least a week-and-a-half — which most people saw coming considering the star right fielder had been hampered by a litany of issues for weeks.

It was the right shoulder, or it might have been the left wrist, so naturally, the Phillies placed him on the 10-day injured list with a left forearm contusion.

“Some people say forearm,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I don’t know. I guess it would be kind of both.”

Harper had been slumping before being placed on the IL, going 0-for-his-last-16 with 10 strikeouts. He was benched on Sunday and Monday, but Girardi continued trying to sell the notion that Harper was healthy.

So why lie?

“On Sunday morning, we talked. He called me and said his wrist was sore,” Girardi said. “I gave him the day off, but I didn’t really want [Red Sox manager] Alex Cora to know I wasn’t going to use Bryce that day.”

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) reacts after striking out during the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

That same energy carried into their series with the Miami Marlins.

“There’s a distinct advantage if I tell you a guy’s wrist is hurt to the other manager and the idea here is to win games,” Girardi said (h/t NBC Sports Philadelphia). “It’s kind of like me telling you who’s available in the bullpen and not available. I don’t like doing that because I don’t want [Marlins manager Don Mattingly] to know who I might use or not use.

“I understand you want to know, but there are distinct advantages that I can give another club if they know everything that’s going on over here. So, I’m sorry that I had to do that but we’re trying to win games and he’s just not ready to go. I thought he’d be ready on Monday or Tuesday. He’s not. So, we decided to IL him.”

Now the Phillies are dealing with a significant depth issue that will only become more glaring in Harper’s absence. Besides Matt Joyce and Roman Quinn as potential backup options to fill in for Harper, the Phillies are relying on Scott Kingery to play six different positions.

“I’m sorry,” Girardi said. “I don’t want to give the other club a distinct advantage, but there are some times I’ve just got to do what I have to do for our club.”

More from our Sister Sites