Ryan Howard took a big step in his recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon today, as doctors cleared him to stop wearing a protective boot and start working out.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Howard’s first post-boot workout involved fielding ground balls at first base while sitting on a stool, so he’s obviously still nowhere near being game ready at this point.
Howard’s timetable was pushed back because of an infection months after the surgery, leading to speculation that he’ll miss all of April and most of May at the very least. Jimmy Rollins even expressed some doubt about the slugging first baseman playing at all this season, but barring more setbacks June seems like a reasonable target date.
The Fernando Rodney Experience hasn’t been a good one for the Twins thus far. The veteran closer served up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to the Yankees on Thursday afternoon, erasing a 4-1 lead and blowing his third save in five opportunities.
In the ninth, Didi Gregorius reached on a throwing error by Miguel Sano. Giancarlo Stanton then singled, and Gary Sanchez followed up with a walk-off three-run home run.
Rodney, 41, now sports a 6.75 ERA on the year. He inked a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Twins back in December. The club has an option for next year worth $4.25 million. If things keep going the way they’re going, the Twins aren’t going to want to pick up that option.
The Twins may even want to think about moving Ryan Pressly or Addison Reed into the closer’s role, even if just temporarily. Pressly has been terrific, tossing 13 scoreless innings with 18 strikeouts. Reed has a 2.25 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.