For the second straight season, Ryan Howard will end the year injured. Although this time it's not quite as bad or dramatic. The Phillies' 1B will miss the rest of the season with a broken toe, the team announced today.
Of course, the Phils were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and the season has only five games left. The injury happened Thursday when Howard dropped a lead pipe he swings while on deck on his toe.
Howard played in only 71 games this season after missing the first chunk of the year rehabbing from a torn Achilles injury suffered on the final at-bat of the 2011 season. Howard was actually ahead of schedule with rehab, but an infection discovered in spring training pushed his comeback even further.
He failed to find a groove this season, hitting just .219. He got on base at a .296 clip, 70 points below his career average. Howard admitted knowing he would never be 100 percent this season after suffering an injury that typically takes at least a full year to recover from.
"I didn’t really have a lot of expectations for myself," Howard said. "I just wanted to try to come in and help any way I could. I knew I wasn’t going to be 100 percent . . . so I just wanted to do what I could by driving in runs."
Charlie Manuel said it was clear the injury had affected him all season.
"When I watch him hit, I don’t think he realizes his back leg is bothering him and he has trouble pushing off it," Manuel said. "When he gets stronger and gets more on it, he feels it. He doesn’t use his legs right now hitting the ball."
A broken shouldn't be a major injury to rehab from this offseason, so the focus will still be on regaining strength in his ankle.