UPDATE (10:27): Ryan Howard was believed to be one of at least three candidates to replace Mark Teixeira as the first baseman for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. But should the Phillies have messed with a good thing and let him go?
“It’s always a great honor to represent your country," Howard told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. "I’d love to do it, but I don’t know how it works and I haven’t heard anything.”
Shortly after the report, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer was named the replacement for Team USA. Various reports stated the Phillies weren't even contacted about Howard.
Howard, of course, is having a ridiculous spring. He's hitting .370 with three homers, three doubles and a major-league leading 10 RBI.
Should the Phillies have let Howard do his thing and represent his country if he was the selection? Or should they have kept him in Clearwater, where they themselves can monitor his playing time and the opposition he faces?
If Howard didn't miss 91 games last season this wouldn't even be a question. But he did, so it is.
Howard is back in the lineup again Wednesday against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals. Piece hasn't yet missed a game this spring.
1) Ben Revere, CF
2) Michael Young, 3B
3) Chase Utley, 2B
4) Ryan Howard, 1B
5) Domonic Brown, LF
6) Laynce Nix, DH
7) John Mayberry, RF
8) Tommy Joseph, C
9) Yuniesky Betancourt, SS