Bryce Harper back in Phillies' lineup after 52-game absence

Bryce Harper bats in his first game on a rehab assignment for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs against the Gwinnett Stripers at Coca-Cola Park on August 23, 2022 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) ((Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images))

Bryce Harper was back in the Phillies' starting lineup for Friday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates after missing 52 games with a broken left thumb.

The NL MVP was batting cleanup as the designated hitter for his first game since getting plunked by San Diego Padres left-hander Blake Snell on June 25.

Surging Philadelphia is coming off a four-game home sweep of Cincinnati and is 32-20 since Harper last played. The Phillies began play Friday in the second NL wild-card spot.

Harper is batting .318 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs in 64 games. He went 5-for-8 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in a pair of rehab starts at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Phillies had planned to keep Harper in Triple-A through Saturday, but his return to the big leagues was moved up after his walk-off double for the IronPigs on Wednesday night.