UPDATE: Welcome to the world, Krew Aron.
MIAMI — Baby Harper is on his way.
Bryce Harper returned to Las Vegas on Wednesday night to be with his wife, Kayla, as she gives birth to the couple’s son. On Friday afternoon, the Phillies placed Harper on paternity leave, which provides Harper three days to be with his family.
The Phillies will have to take care of the last-place Marlins without Harper, who has a 1.029 OPS in August and five homers in his last seven games as he seems to be heating up just in time for the season’s stretch run.
His roster spot will be filled this weekend by Maikel Franco, who returns from triple A after being demoted last month. Franco had four hits in 19 at-bats with Lehigh Valley and also missed 10 days after being hit on the hand by a pitch. Franco pinched-hit in the fourth inning, delivering a tie-breaking base hit.
“One of the exciting parts of having Mikey here is he’ll have the opportunity to work with Charlie,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco’s chance to work with new hitting coach Charlie Manuel. “During early batting practice, Charlie and I were talking about Mikey and Charlie is pretty strong on keeping him to the middle of the field, right-center to left-center and focusing on his concentration from at-bat to at-bat so he does not give any at-bats away.”
The Harpers, who married in December of 2016, announced Kayla’s pregnancy in April with an Instagram post taken at Race Street Pier shortly after Harper’s first game with the Phillies. Harper said after signing his $330 million contract with the Phillies that finding the right place for his child to grow up was a part of his free-agent search. “Philly raised little man will be,” Harper wrote.
Earlier this season, Harper reflected on his relationship with his dad as he prepared to become a father himself. Ron Harper was a union ironworker in Las Vegas, working long days in the heat tying rebar that served as the foundation for the city’s casinos. It is that work ethic that Harper said he hoped to pass on to his son.
“It’s very cool to become a dad now and know what he sacrificed for me and to be able to put it into myself and hopefully teach my son the right way,” he said in June. “That’s what I want to do.