Skip to main content

Howard Returns to Minor League Roots


LAKEWOOD, NJ- On a night when the BlueClaws retired Ryan Howard's jersey and Howard set the franchise RBI record, the visiting Greensboro Grasshoppers weren't very accommodating.

Howard was there to test his recovering sprained left ankle and knock off any rust. Greensboro lefty pitcher Chad James wasn't budging, as he walked Howard in his first plate appearance. The Grasshoppers them employed a fielding shift for the slugger in his second at bat, forcing Howard to ground to the second baseman, positioned in shallow right field.

The 19-year-old James held the BlueClaws hitless through 5 1/3 innings, when Howard took his third turn at the plate, following a Leandro Castro walk. Howard broke up the no-hit bid by James with a double that one-hopped the wall in left-center and scored Castro.

Howard also made an error in the field, when he wasn't able to handle a throw from shortstop Alan Schoenberger.

The Phillies were reportedly targeting Monday as a return date for Howard, to be activated from the Major League disabled list. However, Howard described Sunday as a realistic possibility for a return. "The ankle felt good. It's been getting better everyday. It's just a matter of continuing to the rest of the swelling out, and with that the stiffness goes away," Howard said, after testing his ankle for 6 innings, prior to being pulled from the game for pinch runner Jeremy Barnes.

"I'll probably go down to (Citizens Bank Park) tomorrow, then go over to Lehigh and play and see what they want to do. But, knowing Charlie (Manuel)...once you get back, it's full-bore all the way, so..."

Initially, the BlueClaws had planned to retire Howard's jersey in a ceremony that was scheduled for September 2nd. However, the Phillies' off day was lost when a rained out game against Colorado was rescheduled for that date. With enough notice of Howard's rehab appearance, the Lakewood staff was able to put on a jersey retirement ceremony to be proud of.



Howard's mother, twin brother, son and girl friend were on hand to celebrate as Ryan became the first player in team history to have his number retired. "Having my jersey retired is something special at any level, whether it's the big leagues or here in Lakewood...to have an organization show you that kind of love and respect, it meant a lot to share it with my loved ones," Howard told a crowded conference room after the game.

Howard was pleased to be back where he got his start in full season baseball. "Lakewood will always have a special place in my heart," Howard said. "(Lakewood) was my first long season. This was the first time I got to experience what a real professional baseball season was like. And I'll never forget when I went home and my dad asked me, 'If you could sum up the season in one word, what would you say?' and all I said was, 'Endurance'."

The Phillies All-star, who has posted a .292 average, slugged 23 homers and driven in 83 runs this year set the BlueClaws franchise record for RBI's at 92, passing Randy Ruiz and Travis "Moose" Mattair.

Fans will be able to purchase raffle tickets to win Howard's game jersey from Friday's outing. A portion of the proceeds will benefit BlueClaws charities and a portion will benefit the Ryan Howard Family Foundation.

________________________________________


Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter HERE.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Who is Your Favorite Willie 'Mays' Hayes?

PhoulBallz.com is wondering which individual who has portrayed Willie "Mays" Hayes is the favorite of the public. Hayes, of course, is the character made famous in the Major League motion picture series. In Major League , Willie "Mays" Hayes was portrayed by budding Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes, who would go on to action movie superstardom. Snipes has starred in major motion pictures like the Blade trilogy, Passenger 57 , Undisputed and many more. Snipes remains an impact Hollywood actor, despite legal troubles related to income tax evasion. Snipes was replaced for the sequel, Major League II when his busy career, and possibly the film's budget, would not allow him to return, by Omar Epps. Another budding actor, Epps had previously worked with director David S. Ward, on the film The Program , and landed the role of Hayes, who had become a Hollywood action star over the off-season that occured between the two films. Epps' career portraying athletes rol

LHP Brown speaks on recent release and his future

Aaron Brown, image- Jay Floyd Please consider supporting my work and subscribe to  my Patreon page .  Your patronage will get you exclusive interviews and other prospect related material as well as early access to all of my other content such as this post.  Thank you. Aaron Brown was released last Friday after nearly six years in the Phillies organization. Brown, the Phils' 3rd round draft selection in 2014 out of Pepperdine, was primarily an outfielder after turning pro.  A two-way player in college, Brown switched to pitching in 2017 after struggling on offense (.224/.313/.360) at the Double-A level. A dominant hurler in college, Brown posted a 13-1 record along with a 1.95 ERA in 17 starts in 2014.  A solid performer on the minor league mound as well, the California native notched a 5-4 record with a pair of saves, a 3.82 ERA along with an 11.0 K/9 mark in 45 relief appearances for the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils last season. With free agency on the horizo

Former Phils prospect Cozens stops looters in AZ

Dylan Cozens, image- Jay Floyd Please consider supporting my work and subscribe to  my Patreon page .  Your patronage will get you exclusive interviews and other prospect related material as well as early access to all of my other content such as this post.  Thank you. Last week, as he rang in his 26th birthday, Dylan Cozens wasn't celebrating.  Instead, he took to the streets in the midst of rioting to protect local businesses in his native Scottsdale, AZ. After 1:00 AM, Cozens, a former Phillies outfield prospect and current Rays minor leaguer, caught a glimpse of some rowdy happening on Facebook Live.  Posts showed violence and thievery and the former second round draft selection wasn't going to let it continue.  "When I saw what they were doing and the reason behind it, I decided to try and stop it because it wasn't right. It had nothing to do with Black Lives Matter.  It was a hate crime to go and try to destroy businesses and loot and hurt peopl