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Phillies slugger Bryce Harper takes a day off for rest, not for his hard fall into a camera well

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper sat out Sunday because of a scheduled day off — not because of any possible effects of his tumble into a photographer's well.

Manager Rob Thomson said Harper already was set for a maintenance day in the finale of a three-game series against the Braves even before he crashed while chasing down a foul ball on Saturday.

“It was kind of a scheduled day off just because he hasn't played much in the spring and then he falls into the camera well,” Thomson said Sunday.

Thomson said Harper was not available to pinch hit in Sunday's 5-4 win over the Braves because the slugger “was a little sore from the tumble.”

Harper said after the game he was fine and ready to start Monday against Cincinnati.

“What happened yesterday I don't think really had any merit on today,” Harper said. “Definitely looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.”

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and other front office personnel during batting practice mimicked Harper's motion over the rail to show how its waist-high level was several inches shorter than the protective railing used for the dugouts. Harper said he thought the Phillies will raise the height of the rail at some point.

“I knew the railing was there,” Harper said. “It just kind of happened.”

A two-time NL MVP, Harper is in his first full season playing first base after reconstructive elbow surgery forced him to move from right field.

Harper has been doggedly aggressive on most balls hit his way since he started playing first base last season. This one gave the Phillies a scare.

Atlanta’s Austin Riley popped a foul ball of Phillies starter Aaron Nola in the first inning that Harper chased down. He cartwheeled over a short railing and plopped into the photographer’s station in the dugout. Harper lost his hat but recovered and walked over the railing to a standing ovation and remained in the game.

The ball knocked off the protective netting and landed on the dirt.

Harper was lifted late because the game was out of hand in Atlanta's 12-4 win. The Phillies entered Sunday 0-2 and have allowed 21 runs.

Alec Bohm started at first base for the Phillies against Braves left-hander Chris Sale.

The 31-year-old Harper was hitless in six at-bats this season and has walked twice with three strikeouts.

“We're trying to take care of him,” Thomson said. “In the first month, we've got two days off. It's like spring training without the extra 44 players. And with a lefty matchup, we'll kick other guys in. We'll just protect him.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb