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— Phillies (@Phillies) July 6, 2012
Howard went 10-for-20 in his rehab assignment at two Phillies affiliates with a double, a home run and 10 RBI — so there’s apparently nothing wrong with his bat. The Phillies used Ty Wigginton, Michael Martinez, John Mayberry, Jim Thome and Luna at first base in Howard’s absence this season. They combined for a.258/.319/.414 line with 12 home runs and 43 RBI, a far cry from Howard’s usual performance.
It remains to be seen whether Howard, who is now 32 and who declined a bit for the two years before the Achilles injury, can regain his former level, or whether his presence can help the Phillies, who are in last place in the NL East, 13 games behind the first-place Nationals, get back into contention.
But Phillies fans will surely be happy to see Howard back in the lineup. Maybe they won’t even boo.
It's been a long road to recovery for Ryan Howard, but it appears he will finally make his 2012 MLB debut on Friday.
Howard likely to start in Philly tomorrow night.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) July 6, 2012
Howard tore his achillies tendon running to first base on the final play of Game 5 of the NLDS when the Phillies were eliminated. He had surgery in October and was expected to miss 5-6 months with the hope he would return to the Phillies in April. That hope was dashed in late February when Howard was forced to have a second surgery due to an infection.
He resumed baseball activities in late April before beginning his rehab assignment on June 29. The Phillies can only hope Howard will have an immediate impact. Philadelphia is currently last in the NL East, 13 games behind the leading Nationals.
He’s been on a rehab assignment and in the third game of said assignment, he hit his first home run since 2011. John Finger:
Howard lined a 3-1 pitch from the Yankees’ John Maine onto the berm of grass beyond the fence in left-center field for his first home run in his sixth game of his minor-league rehab stint. An inning later, Howard laced a first-pitch single off the glove of first baseman Francisco Cervelli with the bases loaded to drive in two more runs.
After Howard’s 2-for-3 effort with four RBIs in a 6-5 victory for the IronPigs and a crisp seven innings at first base, Sandberg gave Howard an early start to his Fourth of July day off. Following his short holiday, Howard will return to action on Thursday and Friday where he will play first base and then he should be ready to rejoin the Phillies.
The question, though, is whether the Phillies will be too far out of contention for Howard’s return to help them. They’ll have a couple of weeks before they have to go into sell mode, if that’s what they decide.
The last time Ryan Howard saw game action, he had to be carted off the field after making the last out of the Phillies' division series loss to the Cardinals and blowing out his Achilles. It might have been the most unfortunate ending to a season in baseball history. But he's back on a rehab assignment, and he's already annoying the minor-league pitchers in the Sally.
Howard was 2-for-4 with two singles in his first game back, and he drove in three runs as the DH. You can judge the quality of his singles for yourself:
He talked to CSN Philly about the game:
"My focus was to get one run home and let ‘Big Duff’ take care of the rest," Howard said. "I told him before he even went up there, I said, ‘Hey, be ready to win this game, man.’ I just went up there and did my thing, and he came through."
Because Howard has started his rehab assignment, he has to rejoin the Phillies within 20 days.
We’re now almost halfway through the 2012 season, and the Phillies inch closer to getting Howard back. Associated Press via SI.com:
The 32-year-old former NL MVP will begin a rehab assignment with the Class A Lakewood Blue Claws, where he played in 2002.
It’s his first game since rupturing an Achilles tendon after grounding to second for the final out of Game 5 of the National League Division Series.
The Phillies are six games under .500 and 9½ games out of first place, and their first basemen this season have hit .260/.319/.418, far below Howard’s usual level. If he can come back at anywhere near his previous form, the Phillies might still be able to make a run at the NL East title, or at least one of the two wild-card spots.
It was on the last play of their 2011 season that the Phillies realized they'd probably play a lot of their 2012 season without first baseman Ryan Howard. Howard suffered an Achilles injury, and etc. you already know all of those details. Howard's recovery has been ... gradual, hitting some speed bumps, but lately he's been participating in simulated games, and the next step is getting ever closer:
Ryan Howard may begin a rehab assignment June 28, Ruben Amaro Jr. says.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) June 26, 2012
Howard's rehab assignment would not be a quick one, as he's got a ways to go before he's in game shape. But beginning shortly would put Howard on track to join the Phillies just after the All-Star break, which wouldn't be a moment too soon.
The Phillies are presently tied for last place in the NL East, and the player who's made the most starts at first base is Ty Wigginton. The open arms that will welcome Howard back could not be any more open.
The Phillies have been extra secretive when it's come to media access to Ryan Howard, who is still recovering from an Achilles injury sustained on the last play of the 2011 National League Championship Series. I, for one, am picturing Ryan Howard in a laboratory, where he's sedated around the clock and waiting for a new leg to grow in a large, large petri dish.
But now we have an update from CSN Philly. Kind of.
Amaro was asked if he believed Howard could be back before the end of June.
"I don’t believe so," he said. "I don’t think so."
Could Howard be back by the All-Star break?
"I don’t know," Amaro said.
Howard had been taking batting practice, and the earlier reports suggested that June was a possibility. But according to CSN, Howard's calf is weakened from the atrophy that occurred when his leg was immobilized, so they don't want to push him only to have another body part snap. So that means June is out. It's possible that July is in jeopardy, too.
Seventeen days ago, we reported that Ryan Howard had begun taking batting practice in his attempt to return from last October’s Achilles injury.
We can report that this is still happening! Bob Brookover:
Howard, recovering from a long stretch of inactivity caused by an infection near his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon, participated in what assistant general manager Scott Proefrock called “a simulated game” Wednesday in Florida.
In essence, Howard took live batting practice against organizational pitchers who are in the extended spring training program.
“It’s a chance for him to see some pitches with some velocity rather than just having a coach throw to him,” Proefrock said.
It doesn’t appear that Howard is very close to playing in actual games, even at extended spring training. He’d have to do that, then probably go on a rehab assignment, before returning to the Phillies.
Seventeen days ago, we reported here that Howard was “targeting late May or early June for his return.” It would appear that timetable is going to have to be extended.
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard might be a touch overrated. He's almost certainly paid more than he would be on the open market. He gets MVP votes in seasons where he might not be one of the top four or five first basemen in the league.
But he's still good. His OPS+ in down years is around 125, and when that's ripped from a lineup, it'll hurt. Howard's Achilles injury has hurt the Phillies' offense, as they've made do with Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, and Jim Thome. But Ryan Howard coming back soon would help the Phillies and that team OPS+ of 82. And how. So there's encouraging news from the Associated Press:
Phillies 1B Ryan Howard took batting practice for the first time since February at the team's spring-training facility in Clearwater, Fla. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. called it "progress." Howard, the 2006 NL MVP, has been sidelined since having a procedure to remove an infection near his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon.
The Phillies' moribund offense can use him, and he's still targeting late May or early June for his return.
Ryan Howard is on his way to the Phillies' Florida training facility and will resume baseball activities beginning on Monday, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly. Howard has been recovering from offseason surgery after tearing his Achilles on the final play of the Phillies' NLDS matchup with the Cardinals last fall. While he still has a way to go, the fact Howard has been cleared to ramp up his training is a positive sign, perhaps indicating his recovery is moving along nicely.
Salisbury had a quick rundown of what's ahead for Howard in the coming weeks.
Howard will start off fielding ground balls and throwing. He will not hit for a few days, until "he gets his legs under him," Amaro said. Everything that Howard does at first will be under a controlled setting. He will build toward getting at-bats and playing the field in extended spring training games, but there is no timetable for that. Howard has not done any running. He will have to work toward sprinting.
Chase Utley, recovering from knee issues, may also be close behind, perhaps resuming baseball activities in the next week or two. He'll likely follow a similar path as Howard, heading to Florida for more extensive training after being cleared.
The last we heard from Ryan Howard and the Philadelphia Phillies, the slugging first baseman was dealing with an infection-related setback that was delaying his efforts to return from an Achilles injury. The best-case scenario was something like the end of May, though some reports pushed his return into June.
Looks like he's mobile and making progress, though. From Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Ryan Howard is here for opener ceremonies. He's taking grounders at first.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) April 9, 2012
Maybe the prognosis didn't change, but at least now we have an image of Ryan Howard on a baseball field doing baseball things, whereas before, I was picturing him in a hospital bed with an infected heel held in traction high above his head. But don't let my own medical ignorance confuse you.
In Howard's stead, the Phillies have used three starting first basemen: Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, and Jim Thome. Jim Thome! Thome recorded eight putouts and one assist, with nary an error, which is encouraging. But the Phillies are also .000 in games he's started. Quite the dilemma.
Jim Thome has a mitt again, and he's not scared to use it. Well, maybe a little scared.
Not so long ago, Ryan Howard was supposedly on track to rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies in May after recovering from the severe ankle injury he suffered last October. Recently, though, Howard got an infection near his healing Achilles tendon, and the infection was serious enough to require surgery.
Which obviously put a hard stop to his spring-training rehabilitation. Philly.com's Matt Gelb:
The Phillies have told their first baseman to mostly rest. He has not been seen at the team's complex. The Phillies do not have an estimate for when Howard will resume baseball activities.
"We immobilized him," Amaro said, "just because our main priority is to just get the infection out of there."
Amaro said Howard is taking a strong dose of antibiotics to remove the infection. Doctors have told Amaro that it could take anywhere from seven to 10 days for the infection to leave his body. Howard last participated in a workout on Feb. 25.
Howard was supposed to return to the Phillies' lineup in May, but now his timetable's quite uncertain. He might still come back in May, but that means the infection's gone and he's rehabbing again within the next week or two ... and there aren't any more setbacks. If we have to guess, we might now guess that Howard won't take over at first base again until sometime in June. Give or take.
When last we heard of the Achilles injury that Ryan Howard suffered making the final out of the Phillies’ NLDS series loss to the Cardinals, the team was optimistic that Howard might be able to play as soon as April.
Those hopes might now be dashed. Danny Knobler:
The Phillies won’t say Ryan Howard had a “setback.”
They will say that they’re not sure when he’ll be able to resume workouts.
However they phrase it, it can’t be great news that Howard’s surgically repaired Achilles tendon became infected.
A procedure was done on the infection on Monday; Knobler reports that the Phillies say the repaired tendon is “intact and not compromised”, though Phillies trainer Scott Sheridan is quoted as saying, “It’ll be like a new wound.”
There’s no timetable for Howard’s return; he had been taking batting practice and taking part in limited other drills, but whether the Phillies formally call this a “setback” or not, clearly, that’s exactly what it is.
John Mayberry Jr. and Jim Thome are among players who will fill in at first base until Howard can return. Whenever that is.
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard underwent successful surgery on his torn left Achilles on Wednesday.
According to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, the Philly slugger will be out of action for "five to six months" while he recovers. He hopes his first baseman can still make his first scheduled at-bat of the 2012 regular season in April.
It's a much better result than what was initially-feared following the injury.
Surgery was performed in Baltimore on Wednesday morning by Dr. Mark Meyerson.
Howard's left leg gave out as he tried to leave the batter's box after dribbling a grounder to the right side of the infield for what turned out to be the final out of the Phillies' Game 5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals and had to be helped from the field.
The Phillies are still waiting for the results of an MRI, but Ryan Howard’s post-game reaction to his injury, believed to be a torn Achilles’ tendon, sounds ominous.
“I was trying to run and I felt this pop and the whole thing went numb, like it was on fire,” he said, according to Philly.com. “It literally felt like I had a flat tire. I tried to get up and I just couldn’t go.”
Howard, who hit just 2-for-19 for the series, likely wouldn’t have made it to first base even if he hadn’t fallen down on his way to first base.
“I thought I hit the ball better than I did. I thought it was in the outfield,” he said. “I tripped and tried to get up. The adrenaline in me was kind of going. I looked up and saw (Nick) Punto had the ball and had thrown it and I couldn’t go. I couldn’t feel anything in my ankle. It sucks. It sucks.”
For Philadelphia Phillies fans, Friday went about as poor as could be expected. Chris Carpenter threw a complete game shutout to eliminate the Phillies from the postseason and Ryan Howard went down with an injury that could keep him out of action for a significant amount of time.
Howard's left leg gave out as he tried to leave the batter's box after dribbling a grounder to the right side of the infield for what turned out to be the final out of the Phillies' Game 5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals and had to be helped from the field. Following the game, reporters were told it was an Achilles injury, with Howard set to undergo an MRI on Saturday to diagnose the severity.
Howard later told reporters he thinks he tore his Achilles, which would be the worst possible outcome for both him and the team. If it is, in fact, torn, Howard could miss the entire 2012 season while recovering and rehabbing from the injury. But again, the diagnosis has to be confirmed on Saturday.
Until then, the Phillies wait, and hold their collective breath while hoping for the best. We'll be back with more on Howard's injury as it becomes available in this StoryStream.
Ryan Howard went down with what appeared to be a serious leg injury at the end of Friday night's game.
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