Phillies Notes: Phillies' Ryan Howard done for season after breaking toe

"I looked at this entire season as a learning process," Ryan Howard said.The No. 1 lesson?"Don't get hurt." The slugger dropped a lead pole on his foot in the on-deck circle Thursday.          Getty Images
"I looked at this entire season as a learning process," Ryan Howard said.The No. 1 lesson?"Don't get hurt." The slugger dropped a lead pole on his foot in the on-deck circle Thursday.          Getty Images
Posted: October 01, 2012

MIAMI - This Phillies season was cursed long before Ryan Howard dropped a lead pole on his right big toe while standing in the on-deck circle Thursday, but the $125 million slugger accidentally created the latest fitting image. A broken toe ended his season five games early.

Manager Charlie Manuel made the announcement in the visitors' dugout at Marlins Park and could not help but laugh. Gallows humor is all these Phillies have.

"Phew," Manuel said. "Kind of different."

The most trying season of Howard's career is over. He uses the lead pole for practice swings, and it slipped from his hand before his final at-bat of 2012 at Citizens Bank Park. He pinch-hit Friday and had complained of pain in his toe. X-rays taken after the game revealed a hairline fracture.

It should not affect his winter training program. He can walk down the aisle at his December wedding without a boot. Howard has not played healthy all season; a ruptured Achilles tendon on the last play of 2011 guaranteed that.

"I looked at this entire season as a learning process," Howard said.

What was the No. 1 lesson?

"Don't get hurt."

After missing the first 84 games of the season, Howard finished with career lows in batting average (.219), on-base percentage (.295), and slugging percentage (.423). He had the highest strikeout rate and lowest walk rate of his career.

Manuel pointed to Howard's production (14 home runs and 56 RBIs) as positive signs. It was not enough, and Manuel is willing to admit that.

"There's going to be some hard work in it," Manuel said. "I think he has better years ahead of him. I do. A lot of it is up to him."

"I know I'm a better hitter than that," Howard said.

The Phillies sure hope so. They will pay Howard $105 million in the next four seasons.

Howard has planned an aggressive winter routine. He will adhere to an "active rest period," which he said will involve pool-based workouts, cardiovascular exercises, and a diet starting sometime in October.

He hinted at back problems that have hampered him all year as a result of overcompensating for the Achilles injury. He will work with a chiropractor. Then, come Jan. 1, he will begin weightlifting and hitting.

"I view it as an opportunity to start over, to really get back in the swing of things with my normal routine," Howard said. "I look forward to it. I look forward to having a little time to decompress because this was a crazy year, a crazy season. I'll reflect on it a little bit and move forward."

Cloyd shut down

Tyler Cloyd spent five minutes playing catch Saturday with pitching coach Rich Dubee. It was enough time to determine Cloyd has thrown his final pitch of a whirlwind 2012.

He has logged 200 innings this season, 54 more than 2011, and his arm is tired.

That leaves the Phillies scrambling for a Tuesday starter. There is no obvious answer, Dubee said. He planned to discuss options with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

"It depends on who is available," Dubee said.

One option would be reliever B.J. Rosenberg, who made six starts at triple A and has recently been stretched out as a long man. But the Phillies could need him before Tuesday.

Extra bases

The Phillies will have a winning September record for the ninth straight season. . . . Friday marked the 12th walk-off Phillies loss this season, which is the franchise's most since at least 1948, when the stat was first kept. They lost 11 walk-off games in five other seasons (2000, 1977, 1969, 1965, 1963).


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com. Follow @magelb on Twitter.

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