Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard provided the Phillies’ only run in a 9-1 loss to the Nationals on Friday, blasting a solo homer to right field in the ninth inning off of Yusmeiro Petit. The home run marked the 361st in the slugger’s career, tying him with Joe DiMaggio for 81st on baseball’s all-time leaderboard.
No one, at least in the last five years, has ever entertained the thought that Howard is comparable to DiMaggio in hitting prowess. But Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, in relaying the news on Friday, took the opportunity to praise DiMaggio at the expense of Howard. Andy Merritt went to the trouble of transcribing the comment, which you can hear on Streamable:
Howard was, for a while, a lightning rod for criticism among Phillies fans because after signing a five-year, $125 million extension, he represented the divide between statistical traditionalists and proponents of Sabermetrics. But as the last five years of his career have been hampered by serious injuries, and a much-publicized familial strife affected his on-field play, he’s become a sympathetic player again. Slamming Howard now, when he’s going through the motions in the final year of his contract with the Phillies, is to kick a guy while he’s down sadistically. It’s likely the case that Scully wasn’t aware of the tone he conveyed, as he certainly hasn’t made a name for himself by ripping into players.
PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.
The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.
Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.
The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.
Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.
Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.
In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.
Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.
With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.