Phillies' Howard goes 1 for 2 in second minor-league rehab game

Ryan Howard stretches to take BlueClaws third baseman Maikel Franco's throw in the second inning.
Ryan Howard stretches to take BlueClaws third baseman Maikel Franco's throw in the second inning. (   RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 30, 2012

LAKEWOOD, N.J. - Ryan Howard played first base against live competition Friday night for the first time since suffering a torn Achilles tendon last October.

Making his second rehab appearance with the single-A Lakewood BlueClaws, Howard went 1 for 2 with a single and a strikeout before exiting the game after the fifth inning against the Hagerstown Suns, a Washington Nationals affiliate. No Suns batter knocked a ball toward Howard, but the former National League MVP said he enjoyed returning to the infield.

"It felt good being able to get the reads off the bat, seeing the double plays, getting throws and everything," Howard said. "It just felt good."

Howard, who served as a designated hitter in his first game back on Thursday, will again be the BlueClaws' designated hitter on Saturday at 7 p.m. He expects to play the whole game.

Howard said Phillies management decided before Friday's game that he would play only five innings. He said he didn't feel sore. He said he just needs to be patient as he gets used to playing in games again.

In the first inning, Howard punched a pitch through the left side of the infield for a single, jogging gingerly on his way to first. In the third inning, he struck out chasing a breaking ball from Alex Meyer, the second-best prospect in the Nationals' organization according to MLB.com.

Howard almost got a third at-bat, but Kelly Dugan struck out to end the fifth inning. The Lakewood fans' final image of Howard for the night came as he fanned his bat a few times in the on-deck circle before scooping his helmet off and walking into the BlueClaws' clubhouse.

"It is what it is," he said of missing a third at-bat. "You go out and play. It's all about now kind of working back into it. You don't want to try to overdo it. It's only the second game. There's still plenty of games to go."


Contact Tyler Jett at 215-854-4550 or tjett@philly.com.

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