Howard Breaks Toe, Season Finished
Ryan Howard, who missed much of 2012 following left Achilles surgery, broke his right big toe Thursday at Citizens Bank Park, where he dropped the lead pipe his swings in the on-deck circle squarely on his toe. Howard said an x-ray Thursday revealed a small fracture in the toe, which will require nothing more than rest to heal.
But his season is over.
So what’s next for the Phillies’ $125 million man? Only the most important offseason of his career.
Howard hit .219 with 11 doubles, 14 home runs and 56 RBIs in 71 games. His batting average, on-base percentage (.295), slugging percentage (.423) and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.718) are career lows, but he projected to 127 RBIs over a full season because he hit .329 with runners in scoring position.
“I know I’m a better hitter than that,” Howard said. “But I think for being able to come in and try to do the best I could and contribute, still being able to get 56 RBIs and 14 home runs and whatnot, considering everything that had gone on and not really having a Spring Training to properly get ready for the season, I look at that as a positive.”
Howard opened the season on the disabled list following left Achilles surgery and complications following that surgery. He returned in July, but was never 100 percent in terms of strength in the left leg.
“He showed us he can still knock some runs in,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “But we feel like he can hit for a higher average and get more consistent. I think that some of his best years might be … I shouldn’t say might. They are ahead of him. It’s going to take some hard work. It’s going to take somebody who can get with him and really work hard with him. It’s going to take some practice. I think he’s going to bounce back.
“He’s going to have to put some work in. I’m talking about every day. I’m talking about this winter. He wants to be where he used to be.”
Howard, who is getting married in December, outlined his plan for the offseason.
“I just view it as an opportunity to start over, just really kind of getting back into the swing of things, where my normal routine would be,” he said. “I’m looking forward to taking some time to decompress. This was a crazy year, a crazy season. Just reflect on all of it. Just look to try to move forward.”
Howard said he plans to have an “active rest period” early in the offseason, which involves pool-based and cardio workouts, chiropractic and massage therapy and working on a diet. He said he will really ramp up the weight training and hitting Jan. 1. But he said the broken toe will not affect any of those plans.
“I’m focused on getting my body back together first,” he said.
Howard said he expects his left leg to be 100 percent recovered by Spring Training.
“I think he’s got better years ahead of him,” Manuel said. “I do. But I think it’s up to him.”
Howard’s batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage have dropped every year since 2009, so it will be difficult to reverse that trend. But Manuel and Howard believe it can be done.
It begins this offseason.
“He wants to be who he was,” Manuel said.