Ryan Howard is in the Best Shape of His Life

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Man, it’s starting early this year. Take it away Ruben Amaro:

Amaro said Ryan Howard’s offseason conditioning program has already shown results. “I think he’s lost a significant amount of weight, which bodes well for him,” the GM said.

Good for Howard. And good for Amaro for making it safe for all general managers and agents to make reference to a player’s offseason conditioning program as if a player getting into decent shape is a net positive as opposed to the rectification of previous problem. It’s a long offseason and we have to fill it with stuff that doesn’t really matter at all between now and spring training.

In other news, tell me how these two statements later in the article, separated by a mere couple of sentences, conflict with one another:

The Phillies have a reputation for being a by-the-book organization that values good citizenship. It’s difficult to envision them making serious plays for [Josh Hamilton or Melky Cabrera]

and

“I don’t have any problem with Brett [Myers], as long as he could help us,” Amaro said.

Viva by-the-book behavior and good citizenship.

Melvin Upton released by the Giants

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Jon Heyman reports that the Giants have released outfielder Melvin Upton. He requested his release.

Upton, who turned 33 yesterday, signed with San Francisco in early April after the Blue Jays released him. It was a minor league deal. After recovering from a rash of minor injuries, Upton batted .244/.306/.333 in 12 games at Triple-A Sacramento. There was no indication that the Giants were going to call him up. I presume that, back when they signed him, they figured they’d be contending and could maybe use a veteran bat. That’s obviously not the case anymore.

I suppose it’s possible that someone gives Upton a look when rosters expand in eight days, but I figure it’s more likely that we’ll next see him as he fights to make a team on a minor league deal next spring.

Carlos Santana left last night’s game with back tightness

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Andrew Miller leaving last night’s Indians-Red Sox game got all the press, but the Indians lost another key player in the game as well: Carlos Santana. He was forced to leave after going 0-for-3. There was no followup announcement after the game, so he’s likely being reevaluated.

Santana is hitting .250/.355/.446 on the year, but he’s been pretty hot of late, hitting .375 with a couple of homers in the past week.