Phils' slugger Ryan Howard says he's just like everyone else on the team. He arrives at Bright House Field in the morning, checks to see if his name is on the lineup card, and then plans his day accordingly. Sure, Howard might be underselling it a little bit, but as far as keeping busy this spring, the Big Piece has filled his days with plenty of activity.
So Thursday's game against the Twins at Bright House will be Howard's 11th in a row. He is the veritable Cal Ripken Jr. of Grapefruit League veterans, having not missed a game despite long bus trips to places like Lakeland, Ft. Myers and Bradenton.
But the weekend starts early for Howard, who will not put on his uniform and climb on the bus for the long ride to Port Charlotte on Friday. Then again, perhaps the reason why Howard (and Chase Utley) isn't making the trip is because the Tampa Bay Rays have David Price scheduled to pitch.
Nevertheless, some wonder what the thought process is behind Howard playing so much during the early part of the spring. Manager Charlie Manuel says since Howard is feeling good and wants to play, he puts him in the lineup. Howard says he's simply a ballplayer and if his name is on the lineup card, he plays.
However, the school of thought is that in coming off a major surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon, the best way to hasten the long recovery is to keep active. It's the same plan with Chase Utley's chondromalacia in his knee. In limiting the down time, a chronic injury doesn't keep a ballplayer dealing with as much pain.
Consider the Denver Nuggets' Andre Iguodala, who also has a case of chondromalacia. Since first learning about the injury during the 2010-11 season, Iguodala has missed just six games over the past two years and two of those were for a strained neck and the others were because he needed to rest up for the playoffs. Iguodala says his off-season workouts are no different than his in-season workouts in that he does not play games. Otherwise, it's all the same. He keeps moving all year round.
In other words, it's just like the old saying: move it or lose it.
Phillies vs. Twins
1.) Ben Revere, cf
2.) Freddy Galvis, ss
3.) Chase Utley, 2b
4.) Ryan Howard, 1b
5.) Michael Young, 3b
6.) Dom Brown, lf
7.) Darin Ruf, dh
8.) John Mayberry, rf
9.) Erik Kratz, c
Cliff Lee, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes and Zach Miner are all scheduled to pitch.