Ryan Howard to Visit Team Doctor, Could Hit the DL

Written By Bob Cunningham On Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Losing Howard for two weeks or more will hurt bad.

When it rains in Philadelphia these days, you can bet it's going to pour.

With the Phillies' number three hitter, Chase Utley, already on the DL for who knows how long, the Phillies' number four hitter, Ryan Howard, could be joining him very shortly after spraining his ankle Sunday against the Nationals.

Howard and the team originally said a trip to the DL likely wouldn't be necessary, but with Howard staying in Philadelphia to see a team doctor rather than traveling to Florida with his teammates when they start a series with the Marlins, the optimism is starting to die down.

And to be quite frank, thinking Howard wouldn't hit the DL was most likely wishful thinking.

Almost everyone has sprained their ankle at one time or another, and it's never a quick recovery as it usually takes a few weeks for the swelling to go down completely and the pain to subside.

It's also an injury that can linger if not properly healed before it's put through any kind of activity again. So, with that in mind, it might be in Howard's, and the team's, best interest if he does hit the 15-day DL and allow his ankle to heal before the season really gets to the wire.

If they hurry him back, his production will dip as he deals with the pain all season long. But if they find a way to tough it out and ride the storm while he misses a couple weeks and comes back at 100 percent, it could have a greater payoff at the end of the season.

It would certainly require some lineup juggling, but the Phils have become accustomed to that this season.

Charlie Manuel has a tough call to make, but barring some miracle, I would expect to see Howard hit the DL at some point later today after the doctor tells them that's the best route to take.

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