The Phillies made a personal move Saturday night that seemed inevitable.
Philadelphia placed first baseman Ryan Howard on the 15-day disabled list with left knee inflammation and called up Darin Ruf, who was suppose to arrive during Saturday night’s game with the Atlanta Braves.
Howard is batting .266 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs. He hit a home run off left-handed Braves starting pitcher Paul Maholm in Friday’s 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves. But he struggled to run to first base after other atbats and did not move well in the field.
He was originally in Saturday’s lineup but was scratched after batting practice.
Howard went 3-for-27 on the recently completed 10-game road trip and is batting .173 against left-handed pitchers this season. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said on Friday that Howard’s problems against left-handers are caused equally by his approach at the plate and his inflamed left knee.
“He needs to have more success against left-handers,” Amaro said Friday. “I think he will, but he hasn't. I think he needs to.”
Howard sat some games against left-handed pitchers on the road trip. The 33-year-old is in the second year of a five-year $125 million contract. Amaro mentioned the word platoon in association with Howard’s name during a radio interview last week.
But manager Charlie Manuel said Friday that Howard sat because of his knee.
“I don't look at Ryan Howard as a platoon player yet,” Manuel said.
Phillies fans have clamored for Ruf, who led the double-A Eastern League with 38 home runs last season. The 26-year-old Ruf has struggled in triple-A this season with a .266 batting average and seven home runs in 304 at-bats.
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