Ryan Howard kicked off his minor league rehab assignment last night with Class A Lakewood. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, three RBI and a sacrifice fly while serving as the designated hitter.
Both hits were singles to the right of second base, the second of which he beat out for an infield hit. Howard’s baserunning appears to be a work in progress, but he had plenty of chances to test his surgically-repaired Achilles. He just missed a home run with his sacrifice fly in the ninth. All in all, a good day.
The assumption was that Howard would DH for a couple more games before playing the field, but he’s actually scheduled to play first base today. The 32-year-old slugger figures to need most of his 20-day rehab window to get into game-shape and get his timing down at the plate, but things are looking up for the Fightins.
CSNPhilly.com has video of Howard’s at-bats and some post-game comments:
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.