Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard returned to the lineup this Friday after being activated by Philadelphia for the first time this year following off-season surgery on his Achilles tendon.
While Howard’s debut was successful on a personal level, he went 2 for 4 with a double and a single, it wasn’t enough to defeat the Braves as Brian McCann hit a grand slam, Tim Hudson tossed four-hit ball over seven innings and the Atlanta beat the struggling Phillies 5-0.
“It felt good, but the outcome didn’t go the way we wanted it,” Howard said of his return.
Although Howard looked normal at the plate, playing defense and running the bases was a different story.
While the 32-year-old slugger says he is free of pain, he admitted the strength in his Achilles still has a ways to go. He was running and moving laterally with a noticeable limp.
“[The Achilles] doesn’t feel any different than when I was running in Lakewood or in Lehigh. There’s probably going to be a small hitch in there, so get used to it,” Howard told CSNPhilly.
Regardless of Howard’s condition, Philadelphia is certainly glad to have their star back as the five-time defending NL East champions are a season-worst 11 games under .500.
“We still control our own destiny,” Howard said. “We have to go out and win series. If we can do that, we’ll find ourselves in the mix.”
Manager Charlie Manuel and other members of the Phillies talk about Ryan Howard’s return to the lineup and what impact they expect it to have on the club below: