Ryan Howard to have MRI on knee, surgery “remains an option”

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CSN Philly’s John Finger reports that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard will have an MRI taken on his ailing left knee on Monday. The results will direct the next step the Phillies take with their $125 million slugger, and surgery “remains an option”. Howard went on the 15-day disabled list yesterday.

“We’ll see what happens [Monday] to get a better understanding of what’s going on inside of there and then we’ll address it with either surgery or any other kind of injections,” Howard said. “Right now, it’s too early to tell. Once we find out, we’ll look at it and see what will be the best thing.”

Howard clarified that the injury had nothing to do with his ankle. He ruptured his Achilles tendon making the final out of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals and missed the first 84 games of the 2012 season. His mobility and agility were severely limited last year, but seemed to get better after an off-season of rest.

Howard leaves the Phillies having posted a .784 OPS, spurred in part to a .930 OPS in 21 games dating back to June 11. In his absence, the Phillies may use some combination of Michael Young and Darin Ruf at first base.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.

Rays activate Kevin Kiermaier

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The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.

Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.