Ryan Howard past has been a big part of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ offense. This season has been a different story. He ended up on the disabled list in July and had knee surgery. Now it will be a waiting game to see what Howard can do next season.
Howard has been preparing to make an impression on Ryne Sandberg, his teammates and the fans. He has been down in Clearwater, Florida rehabbing. Will starting early help his numbers in 2014?
It is hard to tell. Howard is supposed to be the RBI guy on the team. This season when he was healthy, he only drove in 43 runs, which is way under what he can produce. He had an average of .266, which is relatively high for him. If he could hit around there next season, that would be key. Howard was only able to hit 11 home runs this season. He used to be a home run king. Was it because he was injured or because he is getting older? It could be a little bit of both.
During his rehabilitation, Howard has lost about 12 pounds. That number could go lower before 2014. His main priority is to become healthy in all departments.
Howard wants to be able to help his team win as they have not had much luck in that department. He was not able to do anything earlier this season as he was far from his performance standards. He just needs to keep focusing on rehabbing. Howard is going to be 34 years old come 2014. As you age, injuries are not as easy to recover from.
The Phillies are counting on Howard to come back fully in 2014. He has to prove that he deserves the money he is getting from his contract. He has to prove he is the first baseman he used to be. Howard can be a great baseball player as long as he continues to work at it, and 2014 could be his comeback year.