Ryan Howard has had problems with an Achilles injury for a while now. Then last season, he wound up missing a ton of time also with an injury. With Howard and other leaders gone for large chunks of the year, plus the great season the Washington Nationals and even Atlanta Braves had, it was easy to kind of forget about the Philadelphia Phillies.
With the way they are playing, walking and even going about daily workouts, it is clear that they have something to say. Howard and company plan to make sure no one forgets who they are this season.
What does all of that have to do with Howard? Everything. He is the big man on the team. When someone needs a big fly, he is the one everyone hopes is coming to the plate. When opposing pitchers run down the line-up they will face, it’s his name and ability they figure out how to pitch to or around.
Throughout last season, Howard hasn’t been the same. Any great power hitter will tell you something similar about his legs being part of his swing. Howard’s legs have been the problem.
That doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore. Howard looks as lean and strong as he ever has, and is clearly already well on his way to getting his timing down. There are other leaders on this team that are healthy this year as well, but none of them are as important to the line-up itself as Howard. His big threatening bat needs to be there with 30-plus homers and upwards of 100 runs batted in.
If he keeps healthy and strong the way he looks to be, this could be a big comeback year for Howard and the Phillies.