Hitting Fourth and Playing First Base …

The Big Piece is back.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said after last night’s gut-wrenching 6-5 loss to the Mets at Citi Field that Ryan Howard, who has been on the disabled list since the season started because of left Achilles surgery, is “likely” to start at first base tonight against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. But “likely” means he will unless something absolutely unexpected pops up.

“Excited to be back in Philly tomorrow,” Howard tweeted last night.

Amaro said Howard will be evaluated this afternoon before a final decision is made, but “if we feel comfortable with how he felt coming out of this game – and so far we do – then it’s likely he’ll begin playing in Philadelphia tomorrow.”

Howard played nine innings at first base in a rehab game last night with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He went 2-for-3 with one RBI. In seven rehab games with Class A Lakewood and Lehigh Valley he hit a combined .500 (10-for-20) with two doubles, one home run and 10 RBIs. He hasn’t played back-to-back games at first base, but so what? It isn’t a pain issue with Howard, like it is with Chase Utley. It’s a comfort thing. Amaro said Howard is running fairly well, although “he’s had a tiny hitch in his giddy-up I guess, but when he’s running full speed he looks pretty smooth.” But it’s not like playing a few more rehab games is going to have Howard running at 100 percent. Howard said last week he won’t be 100 percent this season.

So if the Achillies is healed (Howard said it’s healthy), he can hit (Howard said the Achilles does not affect his hitting) and he is comfortable, why not bring him up?

What does anybody have to lose?

I’ve had a few people ask me on Twitter if he is being rushed back. Rushed back? I don’t think so. It’s July 6. No, the only question I have is: Is it too late to make a difference?

“If he plays this weekend, it may not be the worst thing for him to get some time off,” he said. “You just don’t know how he’ll react and what kind of adrenaline there will be. We’ll take it one day at a time with him.”

Day 1 begins tonight.

17 Comments

It’s not September so it isn’t too late. This question has not been asked: Can the Nationals keep up their pace? Can the Mets, especially with their history of Epic September fails? The Braves? Marlins are a moot point. Howard is back, Ruben will fix the bull pen through EPIC last minute trade(s), Cole will be a Philly, and by the last game of the season all will be right in Philly-land and we will win a 6th division. Optimistic? No. Based on the last 7 years or so, this is the most logical conclusion.

Hate to ruin your day, jay but if the Nats play .500 ball their last 82 games they finish with 89 wins. To tie we’d need to go 53-25. That’s a better rate then we had laast year. This year is toast

True, but there are TWO wildcards this year, so at least that is within reach, if they play up to their potential. With all of the major injured players back it will have to at least be better! Howard, Nix, Halladay, and a couple of other pitchers still coming back- that has to help! One interesting thought- when the position players come back, who goes? Fontenot? I don’t think so- they need someone to back up SS and 2b. I guess Wigginton can cover third (and 1b), and Polanco could cover SS and 2B in a pinch Pridey? Luna? I guess they are the most likely. Mayberry? I hope not— I think he will be a very good player,yet, and I love the way he plays defense and runs. Interesting to watch these things unfold. By the way, given my choice (which I don’t have!) I would rather see Pete Orr as the back up second baseman-shortstop. I like Michael Martinez for his defense, but he is not much of a threat with the bat. Just my ramblings.

Seems RAJ and The Phillies are desperate! I LOVE Ryan Howard…Big Rhino is the man! But, when I hear Rhino say something like…”Only being at 80-85%…I’ll give 100% of 85%!”
That tells me he ain’t ready! Unlike Utley who can’t heal he can only play thru the pain…Howard is still in the healing process…Howard has an injury, he can heal! The Phillies should shelf Howard until he is 100%!
I don’t like rushing Rhino back!
We keep getting told it is still early. What’s another 2 weeks for Howard?
13 games out of 1st…I am not looking for our Phillies to win the Division! I’m looking for a wildcard spot…Thank God they put in the 2nd spot that I was totally against!
My whole point I would’ve brought Rhino up when he was 100%…maybe that would be when Doc comes back. Usually I’m all pessimistic…and say its over…but when I take a step back and look at this year’s team, all I van think is:

A healthy Halladay, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Pence, Ruiz, Polly, Paps, etc…and this year can turnaround…we can make a very possible wildcard run…and that’s all you need, ya need to get into the dance….healthy they can do that!

Afterall didn’t we expect a crappy 1st half without Utz & Howard? We were hoping we could stay somewhere close and then have the Big Guns come back after the AllStar Game!
Unfortunately, we got raped by injury this year! And our acquisitions were great bench players that failed us playing daily!

The Baseball Gods have shat upon us this 1st half…I don’t think they will the rest of the year!

If anybody has seen Ryan Howard running the bases on his rehab assignments, it is obvious that he is not ready yet. He may hit a few over the fence, but this strikes me as a panic move.
BTW, can LaRussa rescind Papelbon’s choice as an All-Star? That inning was uglier than Lidge at his worst.

I saw a little footage (pun) of Howard at AAA and yes, he is tentative and even slower than normal. I don’t think he would be here if they had won 4 of those last 6 games.
As far as Papelbon, almost everything he threw last night was up. I didn’t like the signing because of the length of the contract.

I don’t understand people talking about this year as if it’s won or lost based on whether or not they can get first place back. Hey, how about playing good baseball? How about showing some fight and strong, consistent play? I will take that over a first place crown. Sure it would be nice, it’s been nice and expected for many years now, but we are thinking like spoiled brats if we assume that we deserve or need that. I would much rather see a team earn victory game by game or at the very least, show some spark in defeat. If first place or even playoffs don’t happen, perhaps we can be content with watching a team find its rhythm and show some real passionate strong play down the stretch, the kind they are capable of displaying.

Good thoughts, but Philadelphia fans generally don’t think like that. If your team is winning, all is well. If your team loses, they are a bunch of bums. (I don’t think that way, but I know many do!) Actually, you make a good point- if they could just start hitting on all cylinders, and put some wins together, it will at least speak well for the end of the season (or even next year, when they presumably won’t have to deal with the incredible number of injuries to their key players.) Think of the players that they have had to substitute for- MVP’s, Cy Young winners, All Stars. That is tough.

Couldn’t agree more with what AFN said. Most likely there is no post season for us this year. Shit happens. I just wanna see them play smart, sound baseball with some heart. Just trying to enjoy each play for what it is. Othwerwise I’ll go crazy with frustration.

Pingback: The Roster Math Behind Ryan Howard’s Return • Philadelphia-Phillies.fans-talk.com

Tonight’s pitching matchup. Hudson v. Kendrick, Sanchez, Valdez, Shwimmer……

Pingback: The Roster Math Behind Ryan Howard’s Return | Local Philadelphia News Aggregator

You would think that at a minimum the Phillies would want Howard to play back to back games at Lehigh Valley. But on second thought back to back games are exactly that no matter at what level played.

Well weinus wain. How’s that McCann Grannie for a stake through the heart, now that everyones back? All season, it’s been whine, whine Utley. whine, whine, Howard. Whine, whine Halladay. Guess you have been weighed, you have been measured and you have been found wanting. Could you please bring up a bottle of Whine from the cellar please? Looks like it gonna be a sell off to me.

What a hoot you are Billybob. Still worried about the Phillies while the Braves are sitting in their usual position in the middle of the NL East where they have been for how long now? Seven years isn’t it?. What is the matter, coming up a phenom or two short, as usual?

Quaking in my boots. Terrified of the cellar dwelling Frillies.

BillyBob glad to see you emerge from between your mother’s cheeks. What is that the second or third incarnation? Regardless, the Braves are still only in the middle of the pack, as usual.

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