Ryan Howard cleared for baseball activities, heading to Phillies’ spring training complex

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Hey, it’s positive Ryan Howard health news!

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the 32-year-old first baseman has been cleared for baseball activities and will report to the Phillies’ spring training complex in Clearwater, Florida on Monday morning to begin daily workouts.

He will begin by fielding ground balls and playing catch before progressing to hitting and base-running.

Howard underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon in October, then had a follow-up procedure in February to clear out an infection that had formed around his surgical wound.

Salisbury calls June a “safe, albeit broad, outside estimate” for the slugger’s return to major league action.

Angels sign Cody Allen to a one year, $8.5 million deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known. UPDATE: Per Rosenthal, the deal is done at one year, $8.5 million.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.