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Ryne Sandberg wants Ryan Howard to get in better shape

Sep 24, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Howard enjoys a laugh during a workout before a MLB spring training exhibition game with the Dominican Republic national team in Clearwater, Florida. Reuters

Now that the Phillies have officially named Ryne Sandberg their manager for next season and beyond he’s starting to talk about what he has planned and one of those things is getting first baseman Ryan Howard in better shape.

Howard has always been huge and his conditioning has declined while struggling through injuries the past two seasons, leading Sandberg to tell Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:

It all starts right now with the games in Florida along with his workout program the whole winter. Him being healthy will allow him to get into baseball shape. I look for him to come back and be a big guy right in the middle of the lineup. I know I’ll have a conversation with him about continuing to have a good work ethic and get the training he needs this winter.

Beyond those comments on Howard’s conditioning, Sandberg also suggested that the former MVP should take more advantage of studying video of opposing pitchers because “from what I’ve gathered, I think he can be better prepared to face somebody to start a baseball game.”

  1. tcostant - Sep 24, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Congrads to Ryne Sandberg. But I’m confused, when Davey Johnson took over the Natinals after Rigglemen resigned, MLB told the Nationals they needed to interview a minority canidate before they could re-hire him..

    • chadjones27 - Sep 24, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      Thought that was only Football, with the Rooney Rule.
      And since we’re on the subject, is there any description on what determines what type of minority? Just black? Does Hispanic/ Latino count? Actually curious about this, not just trying to rile people up.

  2. stoutfiles - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Good luck with that. Howard already got his money, and he likes food more than you. But if anyone can do it Ryan, it’s you.

    • stoutfiles - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      Oops, I meant Ryne, not Ryan. When will this site have an edit button?! It’s 2013!

  3. tmohr - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Howard could transform himself into the “after” in a P90X ad and it won’t change the fact that his career OPS is 270 points lower against LHP than RHP, and isn’t going to change at this stage of his career. Sandberg should be worrying more about that.

    • hep3 - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      Well, Howar is being paid by Subway. Maybe he could adopt the Jared diet with just turkey or vegetable half sandwches for every meal. MMMMMMMMMM.

      No steak for him!

  4. DelawarePhilliesFan - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Ryan, from now on you will be perfect in every aspect of the game. You drop a grounder, you run a mile. You make a wide throw, you run a mile. You strikeout with a man on 3rd and 1 out, and I will break my foot off in your John Brown hind parts. And then you will run a mile.

  5. whitdog23 - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    NEVER gonna happen. diet and exercise only work when you’re fighting for something. he obviously isn’t and could care less. his subways are loaded with mayo

  6. 12strikes - Sep 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    For all I care, he could look like Jabba the Hutt if he would learn how to hit a curve ball.

  7. missingdiz - Sep 24, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    The new manager should have had his discussion with Howard BEFORE blabbing about the man to the media. Nobody in Howard’s position would be happy with this kind of treatment. Maybe Sandberg is not ready to be an MLB manager, after all.

    • xmatt0926x - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Part of me agrees with you, but at the same time I think you lose that protection when you’ve obviously not made an effort to at least control your diet for a couple years in a row now.

      Yes, he’s had the achilles issue to deal with physically but does that issue excuse you from eating a healthy diet when you know your weight issues will negatively impact your legs?

      I think you can read between the lines with what Sandberg is saying as far as eating right and utilizing more video. He’s basically trying to softly put the pressure on Howard to do more of what he needs to do to try and be successful. Maybe there is a reason he feels he needs to do this through the media.

      To be honest I can’t believe that a player in this stage of his career and his lofty pay would even have to be told to watch video in preparation for that nights pitcher. Are you kidding me? Here’s a guy who has watched his production go down and down while being paid as one of the elite and he has to be pushed to be fully prepared? What a joke.

  8. missingdiz - Sep 24, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    I don’t blame Phillies’ fans for being fed up with Ryan Howard and for hating the contract.

    But Sandberg is leading a team and Howard is going to be on it (no way they’ll get rid of him, thanks to the contract). So, it’s bad for team chemistry to start off by denigrating a prominent player in public. If I were one of the other guys, I’d be thinking Sandberg might do that to me. It’s not usually a good plan to disrespect anybody in public, but especially if you’re going to be working with them. Which brings up my other point. Sandberg is stuck with Howard, so he needs to figure out how to get the most out of him. Sure, conditioning should help and watching more film might help–certainly it’s worth a try. But humiliating a man is not how you get the most out of him. That’s just bad management.

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