March 26, 2011 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The man who Ryan Howard put out of a job in Philadelphia six years ago can relate to the pressure of being a team's power hitter. "I think the one thing you really learn to appreciate is when you have really good hitters around you, like [Chase] Utley and [Jayson] Werth," Jim Thome said. "That's the one thing I can say through my career. Having guys around you that are good players, they make you better, and you're pushing them to be better. " It was an interesting assessment from the slugger now in the twilight of his career with the Minnesota Twins, because we all know that for the last half decade Howard has been baseball's quintessential power hitter - with some sensational complementary parts around him. Despite only briefly being teammates with Howard, Thome has admired the Phillies cleanup hitter from afar.
June 29, 2012 |
LAKEWOOD, N.J. - Four hundred feet from home plate, where a large man wearing a powder-blue No. 52 jersey stood, was the No. 29 plastered on the center field wall with "HOWARD" arching over it. The man at the plate wasn't paying attention to that. The man at the plate was just trying to get solid at-bats against live pitching in the first game of his rehab assignment. The man at the plate was Ryan Howard - or at least the 6-foot-4 shell of the player Phillies fans came to know so well, and the shell of the man the Phillies hope will provide the necessary spark for a struggling team.
April 17, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - Ryan Howard was smiling and chatting with his teammates while heading from the weight room to the indoor batting cages when he made a quick pit stop to grab a bat from his locker at National Park Thursday afternoon. "I'm working," he said, keeping his pregame comments brief. "Working. Got to get my work done. " Howard has been putting in the work for months. The results haven't showed on the field through the first 2 weeks of the regular season. As a result, Ryne Sandberg slid Howard's name down three spots in the Phillies' starting lineup for the 10th game of the 2015 season.
May 5, 2015 |
MIAMI - It's unknown if there were any broken bats or thrown helmets littered in the visiting dugout at Marlins Park yesterday afternoon, but Ryan Howard was not a happy person when he struck out for the second time in as many at-bats to begin the day against Jarred Cosart. He was angry. He was consoled by hitting coach Steve Henderson, who simply told him, "keep battling. " The frustration helped fuel the Phillies' come-from-behind win. Howard launched a game-tying triple in the sixth inning and added a run-scoring single in the seventh as the Phillies beat the Marlins, 6-2, ending a five-game losing streak and avoiding a three-game sweep in Miami.
October 18, 2009 |
In a shocking development, a group of sportswriters went out to a bar in Pasadena, Calif., the other night. This isn't the start of a joke. We were sitting there having burgers and beers when the discussion turned to Ryan Howard. That's when things got weird - which is saying something when you're on the road with that crew. Weird is pretty much the default position. One of the scribes - someone I like and respect - said there are a "gazillion" first basemen he'd rather have than Howard.
February 24, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - What's the point? That's the question the Phillies will need to consider over the next 40 days as they weigh the decisions that will determine the fashion in which Ryan Howard's career with the organization will arrive at its end. Does his presence serve a purpose? Does it have a realistic chance of contributing to the achievement of the objectives they've established for themselves? Last year, you could talk yourself into suspending disbelief. A hot first half and the Phillies might have been able to find a desperate American League team willing to take a flier in exchange for some marginal salary relief.
August 3, 2011 |
DENVER - True story: Once upon a time, Kyle Kendrick ranked high enough in the Phillies' pitching pecking order that manager Charlie Manuel used him as his second starter in a postseason series. That one and only playoff appearance, against Colorado, did not go well for Kendrick. And it seems like ages ago that the Phillies left this city after being swept by a freakishly hot Rockies team in the 2007 National League division series. These days, Kendrick is the swing man on the best pitching staff in baseball, alternating between the bullpen and rotation depending on the health of the other guys in the rotation.
September 19, 2012 |
NEW YORK - Chase Utley and Ryan Howard remain the heart of the Phillies' batting order and they were the foundation for this franchise's run of success that started in 2007 and appears likely to end in 2012. But as the season winds toward its conclusion, it's obvious they are players in transition. After the Phillies took early batting practice Monday afternoon, Utley remained on the field and worked extensively at third base with coach Sam Perlozzo. Howard, meanwhile, fielded questions about a season that started with him on the disabled list after undergoing surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon and is ending with the first baseman in a terrible slump.
May 23, 2013 |
CONFESSION IS good for the soul, we are told. Besides, there is no realistic alternative, seeing as how the words written in 2010 will live forever in cyberspace. Every time I write about Ryan Howard, there probably should be this acknowledgment, right up front. So: "The debate will begin in baseball circles if it hasn't begun already: does it make sense to commit at least $125 million to Howard in the years 2012-16? Does it make sense to commit that kind of coin to a 30-year-old power hitter, who will be 36 when the guaranteed part of the deal is over?
June 28, 2012 |
RYAN HOWARD could be 3 weeks behind Chase Utley in the parade of injured Phillies stars marching back to the team. The first baseman will be examined by Phillies doctors Wednesday. If cleared, he will play for Class A Lakewood on Thursday. That would officially begin his minor league rehab assignment. Howard, sidelined by a ruptured Achilles' tendon and subsequent infection in the surgical wound, would have a maximum of 20 days to spend in the minors. If he plays Thursday, it's reasonable to expect him in uniform when the Phillies begin a six-game homestand July 20 — or even before then.