Unless Unseated, Howard Remains First Baseman

Ryan HowardThe Phillies are rolling out the veterans this week at Bright House Field.

Cliff Lee will speak to reporters tomorrow. Jonathan Papelbon follows him Friday with Cole Hamels on Saturday and Chase Utley on Monday. Phillies fans are curious to hear what they have to say about returning to a team headed in a different direction.

Ryan Howard is not scheduled to speak to reporters, but perhaps that announcement will come. He might be the most interesting Phillies player to hear from, considering his offseason. He finalized a legal battle with his family. His general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said publicly and privately the organization would be better without him.

“Right now, unless he gets unseated, he’s the first baseman,” Ryne Sandberg said today. “He needs to prepare himself to be the best first baseman he can be.”

But certainly it is not a stretch to think Howard feels a little unwanted or unappreciated. That could create tension in camp.

Sandberg said he spoke with Howard about a month ago.

“I know he’s got a lot of things off his mind, coming from him,” Sandberg said. “Ryan was very positive with the conversation. He wanted to be part of the process here with the younger players that we might have in camp. Be that type of a guy. He’s been a Philadelphia Phillie. He considers himself a Phillie right now so for him to take pride in that and going forward help out with the process, that’s something he can also help out with.

“We can get younger around Ryan Howard and have some youth and some hop around him. Like I said, if he gets to where he can really contribute, I’m anxious to see him and see where he’s at and to see if he can be a guy who can raise his game and help us win. I’m confident in Ryan in bouncing back and having that type of year.”

5 Comments

Pingback: Ryan Howard is the Phillies’ first baseman … unless he isn’t | HardballTalk

“if he gets to where he can really contribute”. Can you imagine any manager saying this about any other MVP?? The decline in his skills is shocking.

Pingback: Ryan Howard Still Phils Big Piece - That Balls Outta Here - A Philadelphia Phillies Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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WONDERFUL!! The caveat – he needs to prepare himself for the season – well that ain’t happening – has he ever prepared for the season ? Does he even LOOK LIKE he has ever prepared for the season ? It doesn’t take much preparation to cash those ridiculous checks !! Thank you – Amaro – for this mess !!

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