The Philadelphia Phillies are leaving open the possibility that Bryce Harper will return to the field much sooner than expected.

Harper will begin the season on the injured list after undergoing reconstructive right elbow surgery, but won't be placed on the 60-day IL.

"I'm not setting any dates, but I'm just keeping that option open rather than closing an option," Dave Dombrowski said.

After Harper had Tommy John surgery in November, the Phillies said they expected him back in the lineup as their designated hitter by the All-Star break in July.

Going on the 60-day IL would put Harper out through the end of May.

"All I've said, and all I'll continue to say, it'll be before the All-Star break is our hope," Dombrowski said. "But I'm also going to keep the option open that we'll see what happens."