Ryan Howard: Phillies Star Activated from Season-Long DL Stint
The Phillies are about to get a big boost in the form of a former MVP and a three-time MLB All-Star.
BREAKING: @Phillies activate 1B Ryan Howard from the DL.— MLB (@MLB) July 6, 2012
Howard hasn't played since last October, when he tore his Achilles tendon in the National League Division Series against St. Louis.
The timing couldn't be better for the last-place Phillies, who desperately need a spark as they gear up to make a post-All-Star-break push. Playing without Howard's offense has been devastating for a team that currently ranks 14th in the league in batting, hitting a combined .265.
If Howard is fully healthy, he should be able to steady the team's offense. In his last six major league seasons with the Phils, he's never hit fewer than 31 home runs and registered less than 108 RBI.
What It Means
Will the Phillies make the playoffs now that Howard is back?
Nobody is realistically expecting Howard to act as the savior for the Phillies—not with 13 games separating them from the Nationals, who sit atop the NL East—but there is still hope that he might be able to infuse some life into the team's offense.
His ability to knock one out of the park will strengthen the middle of the order, making life easier for the guys hitting ahead of him.
What Comes Next
This is it for the Phillies. The stretch immediately following the All-Star break will be critical. Either they start playing significantly better or they turn into sellers at the July 31 trade deadline. If Howard and the Phils cannot right the ship, many pieces of this team will be sent packing.
Howard is not going to be able to fix this team's offensive woes all by himself, but he can certainly give the Phillies an indication of where they're headed.
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