Roy Halladay is gearing up for a return later this month, but things are far less certain with Ryan Howard as he continues his rehab from July surgery on his right knee.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com was told by Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. that Howard has lost 15 to 20 pounds during his workouts, but has yet to be cleared to swing a bat. With many hurdles remaining in his rehab process, Amaro isn’t ready to say whether the veteran first baseman will make it back this season.
“I have no idea when or if he is going to be back this year,” Amaro said. “If he’s 100 percent and doing baseball activities, it’s possible. But there’s no reason to rush him back.”
When Howard had surgery to repair his meniscus back on July 10, he was expected to miss at least six to eight weeks. Perhaps there would be more sense of urgency if the Phillies were still in things, but they entered play tonight at 52-65 on the year. With $75 million owed to Howard over the next three seasons, there’s every reason for him to take his time.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: