Laugh all you want about the $105 million the Phillies still owe Ryan Howard. And laugh all you want about the .219/.295/.423 slash line the first baseman posted at the age of 32 last season in his return from a torn Achilles. In nine spring training games, Howard is looking more and more like the former MVP who terrorized pitchers across the league.
In 24 spring at-bats, Howard has slugged three homers, tied for the second-most among contestants in both the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues. Two of those homers have come against name brand pitchers in Craig Kimbrel and R.A. Dickey, both hit to left-center. The third, his most recent, was a tape-measure shot to right against Blue Jays lefty Brett Cecil. Along with the homers, Howard has hit three doubles and driven in ten runs.
Howard has traditionally been a high achiever in spring training. His OPS starting in 2011 — he did not participate in spring training last year — and working backwards to 2006 has been .904, .896, 1.180, 1.017, .710, and 1.133. Along with the fact that spring training stats are notoriously poor barometers by which to predict regular season success, one should take his performance in 24 at-bats thus far with a giant grain of salt. Still, the city of Philadelphia would love to see their star slugger back in form, reclaiming his place in the middle of the Phillies’ lineup.
Major League Baseball announced that Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for his actions during an argument with third base umpire Bill Miller in the top of the seventh inning of the Sox’ game against the Angels on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
The argument was over a balk call on Fernando Abad, which brought in a run for the Angels. It wasn’t Miller’s call — home plate ump Ryan Blakney made the call — but Miller is the crew chief. Things got pretty animated as Farrell got face-to-face with Miller and the spittle flew:
Managers do not have the right to appeal a suspension, so Farrell will be sitting out tonight’s game against the Twins.
Last Tuesday night, the Braves hosted the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park. They lost 6-3. An Alabama man named Marcus Stephens almost came away a winner, however. At least if stealing a $4,500 golf cart that belongs to the Braves makes you a winner, which in some circles I suppose it would.
Stephens lost, however, when he crashed the cart into a metal pole, attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended by Cobb County Sheriff’s deputies. This all went down at 1:40AM Wednesday morning. The report doesn’t mention anything about alcohol being involved but I’ve read enough stories like this to make educated guesses about such things.
That being said, Stephens seems relatively composed in his mugshot:
I mean, yeah, the eyes look a bit red and puffy and the overall vibe he gives off is “I came to the game as part of the Sigma Nu reunion (Auburn University class of ’06, WAR DAMN EAGLE!),” but I expected much worse after reading the headline.
Anyway, dude is out on bail. Somewhere, someone is really super proud of him, I’m sure.