Ryne Sandberg says Ryan Howard returning in September would be “counterproductive”

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It’s possible that Ryan Howard could return from July knee surgery to rejoin the Phillies lineup in September, but interim manager Ryne Sandberg told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that it would be “counterproductive” for the first baseman to do so.

Here’s more:

I don’t know what 10 or 15 games would do. He needs to get healthy and strong and in top baseball shape and whether or not that can happen by mid-September is a question. … He had a big injury and I don’t think he ever got into true baseball shape. He needs to get trimmed up to a playing weight that he can be productive at. Go ahead get him in baseball shape and be ready for first day of spring training ready to go.

It’s interesting that Sandberg is so focused on Howard’s status for 2014 considering the Phillies haven’t officially named him the manager for next season, although he’s certainly right that the focus of Howard’s recovery shouldn’t be some meaningless September games.

As for the repeated references to Howard getting into “baseball shape” … general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said recently that he’s dropped 15 pounds and Salisbury reports that he’s expected to spend at least part of the offseason “working with team conditioning personnel and hitting coaches” at the Phillies’ spring training complex in Florida.

Howard, who’ll be 34 years old in November, is signed for three more seasons at a total cost of $85 million.

Jenny Cavnar to call Rockies play-by-play on Monday night

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According to former major leaguer and current broadcaster Ryan Spilborghs, Jenny Cavnar will be calling play-by-play of Monday night’s game against the Padres for the Rockies. The broadcast will be on AT&T Sportsnet Rocky Mountain Region.

Cavnar will be at least the third woman to call televised play-by-play for a major league team, joining Gayle Gardner (Rockies, 1993) and Suzyn Waldman (Yankees, mid-1990’s).

Broadcasting remains largely the domain of white men, so it’s always good when women and people of color are able to have a seat in the broadcasting booth.