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Ryan Howard “is making encouraging progress” in recovery from torn Achilles’ tendon

Nov 15, 2011, 1:50 PM EDT

ryan howard ap AP

Jeff Janiczek of the Philadelphia Daily News writes that Ryan Howard “is making encouraging progress” recovering from the torn Achilles’ tendon he suffered in the final at-bat of the NLDS.

Charlie Manuel told Janiczek that he touched base with Howard “about 10 days ago” and “he’s doing really well.”

It’s early enough in the recovery process that “doing really well” probably doesn’t mean a whole lot and Manuel admitted that “the big test” will come in 2-3 months when the first baseman “really starts to move around and do things.”

Howard didn’t “move around” a ton before the injury, so it makes sense that a torn Achilles’ tendon wouldn’t wreck his value as much as it would, say, a shortstop or center fielder who relies on speed and athleticism. Right now the best-case scenario for the Phillies seems like Howard returning to the lineup at some point in late April or early May.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    I’m going to operate under the assumption that he will be back at some point during the season. However, Charlie is going to have to give him frequent days off. Charlie also needs to give more time off to Utley and Polanco (assuming he is the starting 3B). They need to upgrade the bench. I don’t want to see tons of games starting by Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez. Furthermore, I don’t want to see tons of games with Jr. at first and somebody like Ben Francisco in LF. That is why I think it would be wise to sign somebody like Cuddyer. I don’t think he is all that great but he can play those infield positions.

    • paulsdamnblog - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:59 PM

      Agree with you on all of that. Utley and Polanco are no spring chickens, neither is Howard. Valdez and Martinez are pretty much the same player, just separated by a few years. Bringing in a professional hitter that can play multiple positions is what they need to do. Unless Amaro manages to pull off a miracle trade that nets them a big time 3rd baseman, and they use Polanco as a “super utility” player, Cuddyer is the guy. I just wish he was a couple of years younger.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Nov 16, 2011 at 6:32 AM

        hey – I bet Cuddyer does, too.

  2. drunkenhooliganism - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    What he really said:

    Yeah. He’s doing good. real, real good. I asked him, I said “uh big guy, you goanna be ready for Flarda. For, uh, spring trainin.” He said he was doing good. Real good. I think the big piece will be ready to, uh, help us out next year. He’s gonna improve his approach. He’ll hit real good for us next year. Yeah, he’s doing good.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:10 PM

      In all seriousness, he needs to change his approach. It was one think when he was hitting 50 HR a year, but things have changed. They pitch him away constantly…please, please stop trying to pull that pitch. Beat the damn shift and take it the other way….I beg of you.

      • drunkenhooliganism - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM

        I’d like for him to shoot one to left field once or twice a week to keep the defense more honest. I’m sure it frustrated him to hit a line drive over the first basemen’s head only to have the second basemen throw him out.

        I was gonna do that thing Manuel does where he speaks like a hillbilly, then instantly sounds like the smartest man alive when he starts talking about hitting, but I don’t own any intelligent thoughts about hitting.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        He’s done that a little bit, but just not consistently, he can get obsessive about pulling the ball at times.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        Yeah, he has but not nearly enough as you mention. He gets into slumps when he tries to pull everything. For like a month straight last season, everything was away. I mean, he still hit the ball hard but it is directly into that damn shift. In order to get a ball through there it has to be absolutely crushed. All I’m saying is if he went the other way more consistently maybe the other teams would back off that the shift a little bit…make them play more honest. I mean, you watch the Phillies all the time, I would guess he loses 20 hits a year because of the shift.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 15, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        I read somewhere (meaning I would give you the link if I could remember it!) that for 2010 the shift cost him 40-42 hits. This was based on analysis of where the balls he hit went to. He has definitely not been going to left field as often as he used to.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Nov 16, 2011 at 6:33 AM

      good one drunkernwhooligan

  3. cardsfanindelaware - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    2008 Won World Series
    2009 Lost World Series
    2010 Lost NLCS
    2011 Lost NLDS

    Do we see the trend here people??

    That’s right, in 2012 they don’t even get into the postseason.

    Gold stars for those who answered correctly!!

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      Isn’t that the 5th or 6th time you have posted this exact same thing? Please find something else to troll….we are trying to have a baseball conversation here.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      And stop thumb upping your own comments….it is a very sad thing to do.

      • paperlions - Nov 15, 2011 at 3:06 PM

        See Cardinal Trolls are annoying, too…and embarrassing for the rest of us.

    • xmatt0926x - Nov 15, 2011 at 6:36 PM

      Actually, there are alot of organizations that would love to have just 1 run like those 4 years at least once every 20 years or so. They’ve alos had the 3rd longest division winning streak since divisional baseball began, just behind the Yankees and Braves. Yeah…those Phillies just keep embarassing themselves..

    • delawarephilliesfan - Nov 16, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      Trends, huh? Like the Cardinals trend of tanking the season following a playoff run?

      If I were you, I would stop thinking about the Phillies and worry about the Cards being .500 next season.

      Now knock it off, or we will forcibly move you to Maryland!

  4. SmackSaw - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    If he lost 30 lbs he’d make even more progress. He’s been sitting on his duff for a month. He’s gotta be over 300 lbs by now.

    • cleverbob - Nov 15, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      Doesn’t look like it here:

      http://www.mlb.com/photos/gallery.jsp?content_id=25976562&c_id=phi&imgId=4

  5. fstapleford - Nov 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Just a sympathy ruse, probably never happened to the choker.

  6. Jonny 5 - Nov 15, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    I’m still trying to fathom popping your Achilles tendon by swinging the bat. How the hell does that happen? Anyway, The man needs to get better and soon. Earning that big contract is going to hang on him heavy.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      I could be wrong about this (I was somewhat busy alternating between vomiting and crying) but I thought they said it was on his first step when he tried to kick it into high gear.

      • veistran - Nov 15, 2011 at 5:34 PM

        He has a high gear to kick it into? Or are we talking more like Puma speed?

      • paperlions - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:40 PM

        That’s why he popped his achilles…trying to find a gear he doesn’t have.

    • spudchukar - Nov 15, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      Nothing else needs to “hang on him heavy”, and I agree it was that quick first step into high gear that did the damage.

  7. aceshigh11 - Nov 15, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    I still can’t believe that happened to him on the very last play of the season. Talk about adding injury to insult (literally).

    Poor SOB. Not a Phillies fan but it was difficult not to feel bad for the team at that point. Hope Howard recovers quickly.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2011 at 6:11 PM

      Yeah, I felt really bad for the guy. You could tell it was serious pretty much right away. After the game he still stood there in crutches and answered every question posed to him by reporters. Where was Jimmy Rollins during all of this…glad you asked, he scurried off before the reporters even got to the clubhouse.

  8. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Mark my words, in three months Howard will be in the best shape of his life.

  9. gallaghedj311 - Nov 15, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    See. Pattern? No. I see a team that all played for contracts on 2008 and wa not managed properly to win a second championship. I’m a phillies fan, but I really wanna see Charlie gone….

  10. Old Gator - Nov 15, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    Bottom line: a healthy Ryan Howard makes the whole division more exciting. Come back soon, big guy.

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