Good news: Ryan Howard will not need an MRI on his left knee, according to Phillies GM Pat Gillick, but the reigning NL MVP is out of this afternoon’s lineup and is listed as day-to-day.
Gillick told an AP baseball writer he didn't think Howard would have to go on the disabled list. The diagnosis appears to be a sprained ligament that connects the tibia to the fibia just below the knee. This could have been worse.
Howard will get at least a day off, which may not have been a bad idea anyway. Howard’s April swoon is one of the main reasons why the Phillies find themselves 3-10, the team’s worst start in over 20 years. The Phillies slugger, hitting just .213 with one homer, has looked off-kilter ever since spring training and his frustration became visible to the naked eye during last night’s loss.
In the meantime, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has made some minor adjustments. Greg Dobbs will replace Howard at first base and hit fifth. Pat Burrell slides up one slot and will hit fourth. Jamie Moyer (1-1, 3.55 ERA) makes his third straight road start. John Patterson (0-2, 7.07) seeks his first win in more than a year. [Live boxscore]