Ryan Howard very well could be in the Philadelphia Phillies lineup tonight as they take on the Atlanta Braves, as reported by David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News. Murphy's report was bolstered by an a blog post from Eric Karabell of ESPN.com, where Howard himself was quoted as saying that he would start.
What impact will his return have on the last-place Phillies?
Most obviously, his return will mean that a powerful bat has returned to the middle of the lineup. Howard is one of the best run producers in all of Major League Baseball, and Philadelphia desperately need production in that regard
But while his bat is incredibly important, he is going to bring a positive aura to this club, which might be even more welcome. The Phils have been disappointing this year, and their players know it.
Howard has been instrumental in all of the success that the Phillies have had the past few seasons. In that sense, his teammates could very well be thinking that he will help them come out from under the cloud.
If the rest of the Phillies are excited, maybe they will play better as well, and when Howard adds his production at the plate to that puzzle, good things could happen.
Regardless of the eventual impact, if Howard really puts on the uniform and plays first base tonight, Phillies nation will explode with excitement.