— 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.