GM on Ryan Howard: “If he’s back by sometime in May, I’ll be happy”

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A few weeks ago Ruben Amaro Jr. declined to “speculate” about Ryan Howard’s odds of being in the Opening Day lineup, but yesterday the Phillies general manager made it very clear that no one is expecting a return that soon.

Amaro told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that Howard returning from his torn Achilles’ tendon by Opening Day “is more than a reach” and instead noted that “if he’s back sometime in May, I’ll be happy.”

Ty Wigginton is the obvious in-house replacement for Howard at first base, although manager Charlie Manuel said yesterday that John Mayberry Jr. could also see action there depending on how the Phillies’ outfield looks. And of course Jim Thome is another option, assuming the 41-year-old can handle playing first base on more than an emergency basis.

Video reviews overturn 42% rate; Boston most successful

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NEW YORK (AP) Video reviews overturned 42.4% of calls checked during Major League Baseball’s shortened regular season, down slightly from 44% in 2019.

Boston was the most successful team, gaining overturned calls on 10 of 13 challenges for 76.9%. The Chicago White Sox were second, successful on eight of 11 challenges for 72.7%, followed by Kansas City at seven of 10 (70%).

Pittsburgh was the least successful at 2 of 11 (18.2%), and Toronto was 7 of 25 (28%).

Minnesota had the most challenges with 28 and was successful on nine (32.1%). The New York Yankees and Milwaukee tied for the fewest with nine each; the Yankees were successful on five (55.6%) and the Brewers three (33.3%).

MLB said Tuesday there were 468 manager challenges and 58 crew chief reviews among 526 total reviews during 898 games. The average time of a review was 1 minute, 25 seconds, up from 1:16 the previous season, when there 1,186 manager challenges and 170 crew chief reviews among 1,356 reviews during 2,429 games.

This year’s replays had 104 calls confirmed (19.8%), 181 that stood (34.4%) and 223 overturned. An additional 12 calls (2.3%) were for rules checks and six (1.1%) for recording keeping.

In 2019 there were 277 calls confirmed (12.5%), 463 that stood (34.1%) and 597 overturned. An additional nine calls (0.7%) were for rules checks and 10 (0.7%) for record keeping.

Expanded video review started in 2014.