Ryan Howard expected to return from disabled list Friday

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UPDATE: Ryan Howard confirmed on his Twitter account that he will rejoin the Phillies on Friday.

Read more details regarding Howard’s return on CSNPhilly.com.

10:30 PM: According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Howard is now “likely” to be activated from the disabled list tomorrow to play against the Braves.

5:32 PM: Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel spoke to the Philly media today, and the news nugget of note is that tonight might be Ryan Howard’s last rehab game. Or tomorrow night. Point is, Howard’s time in the minors is almost over and he could be in Philly as soon as this weekend. Here’s Ryan Lawrence from the DelCo Times:

Ryan Howard is scheduled to play nine innings at first base at Triple-A Lehigh Valley tonight. There’s a possibility his next game will be in Philadelphia.

Prior to the Phillies game in New York Thursday, manager Charlie Manuel said Howard will be re-evalauted following tonight’s game with the IronPigs. He didn’t rule out a return this weekend for the former MVP.

Amaro added that he thinks Howard is ready, but that they have to see how he does tonight.

It’s worth noting that Howard hasn’t played back-to-back games in the field since beginning his rehab assignment. He will tonight and tomorrow, however.

Offensively speaking, Howard has been fantastic, going 8 for 17 with a homer, two doubles and nine driven in.

Mets pitchers strike out 26 Braves batters in 14 innings

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New York Mets pitchers struck out 26 Braves batters last night. That ties a major league record for strikeouts in a game. Four other teams have performed the feat. The Mets joined the the then-Anaheim Angels, however, as the only two teams to strike out 26 batters and lose. Those Angels fell to the Brewers 1-0 in 17 innings in 2004. The Mets fell to the Braves last night, 2-1.

Jacob deGrom led the charge with 13 Ks in seven innings of work, with his only blemish being an RBI single surrendered to Freddie Freeman in the sixth inning. deGrom atoned for that himself, however, hitting a home run off of Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz in the bottom of the sixth to tie things up at one. That’s how things would remain when both starters left the game and it moved on to extra innings.

The first arm out of the pen for the Mets was Seth Lugo, who struck out four batters in two frames. Then came Edwin Díaz, who fanned two, followed by four relievers who each punched out one batter. The Mets final reliever of the night, Jeurys Familia, worked the fourteenth inning and recorded three outs, all via strikeout.

Unfortunately, he also gave up two hits and walked two batters. One of the hits was a ground rule double off the bat of Adeiny Hechavarría. Hechavarría, of course, was designated for assignment by the Mets earlier this month, one day before he was to earn a $1 million bonus for days on the active roster. Take that, old boss. He was then singled in by another recent Braves pickup, Billy Hamilton to make it 2-1, which would prove to be the final score.

In all, 26 strikeouts and a loss. I’m guessing the Mets would’ve taken fewer Ks and a win.