Ryan Howard believes he may have torn Achilles’ tendon

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As if Ryan Howard making the final out of the season for a second straight year wasn’t painful enough for Phillies fans, there’s a chance he could be sidelined when his five-year, $125 million extension kicks in next season.

According to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, Howard believes he may have torn his left Achilles’ tendon while attempting to run out a ground ball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Friday’s Game 5 loss to the Cardinals. The 31-year-old first baseman went down in a heap as soon as he got out of the batter’s box and wasn’t able to continue running as Nick Punto easily threw him out at first base to end the ballgame and the Phillies’ season.

“I was trying to run, and I just felt this pop,” Howard said. “The whole thing just went numb, like it was on fire. Just tried to keep going, and went down. It literally felt like I was on a flat tire. I tried to get up. Couldn’t go.”

Howard has dealt with bursitis near the tendon for most of the second half of the regular season and was given a cortisone injection prior to the playoffs. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but if the Achilles is indeed torn, surgery could cost him a sizable chunk of the 2012 season.

We have plenty of time to talk about what this could mean for the Phillies moving forward, but if Howard needs to miss a couple of months, we could see John Mayberry Jr. fill in at first base while Domonic Brown gets a chance in left field.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.