Notes: Howard makes a memory

Notes: Howard makes a memory

PHILADELPHIA -- Memory Lane at Citizens Bank Park may take on a new nickname, say Howard Alley, after Phillies first base Ryan Howard's second-inning tape-measure solo home run on Sunday traveled 496 feet, the longest home run ever hit in the brief three-year history of Citizens Bank Park.

Howard jumped on the first pitch from Florida Marlins starter Sergio Mitre, and slammed it over the red brick batter's eye wall in dead center field. The ball fell out of sight for a second, before landing in the Memory Lane section of Citizens Bank Park, then bounced off the Wall of Fame.

The Phillies retrieved the ball for Howard, after Turkey Hill ice cream vendor Matt Stewart leaped the Memory Lane wall and grabbed it, later presenting it to an usher.

Howard followed the next inning with a two-run blast to left, for his first-career two homer game.

Veterans Stadium had the Stargell Star, named after Pittsburgh Pirates great Willie Stargell and positioned high up in Section 601 of right field above an entrance way. Howard's homer could merit a special place as well.

Dellucci's Chance: David Dellucci has tried to remain upbeat, though it's not always easy. He refuses to sulk over his situation. The outfielder the Phillies acquired from the Texas Rangers has sat on the bench a majority of this young season. But he knows when those chances to play -- and especially start -- are presented, he has to respond.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel tapped the left-handed hitting Dellucci to make his second start of the season on Sunday in the Phillies closing game of the weekend series against the Florida Marlins, giving Pat Burrell a day off in left field.

Dellucci, who hit a career-best 29 homers for Texas last year, was penciled in to bat second against Mitre. It's why Dellucci had a certain bounce in his step as he walked through the Phils clubhouse. He struck in his first at-bat and drew a walk from Mitre.

"Florida doesn't have any lefties left in the bullpen, and I like our lefties against their righties," Manuel said. "I think that's the best way to go. If we're going to get something out of the guys on our bench, we have to play them. Dellucci can pull the ball and he can hit behind the runner."

Dellucci has played in 12 games for the Phillies this season, hitting .133 (2-for-15), with a double and an RBI. It's been a little different for him, sitting and waiting for his chance to play, as opposed to being a regular, when he posted career-best numbers for Texas, playing in 128 games, with 109 hits, 65 runs batted in, and 223 total bases.

"It's been tough, it's been a tough transition," Dellucci said. "But I don't fault anyone for it. You have guys here like Bobby Abreu, Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell. Those are three great players. So I can't fault anyone. And I can't mope around about it. I just have to be ready when they call me. But it is always nice to know when you're in the starting lineup, and I plan on doing something to help this team win today."

Manuel Staying Positive: The Phillies may be off to a 6-10 start and a 2-8 start at home, but Manuel remains optimistic and isn't about to see any of his players bow their heads.

"I'm frustrated, heck I get frustrated every time we lose a game," Manuel said. "But I look to stay positive. There's no way I wanted to have a 2-8 start at home. We need to win some games, we have to go out play the other team. You sit and watch us, and talk to the guys. We try harder at home. To me, we try too hard at home. We try to play the game the right way, and that sounds simple, but it's real hard to do.

"I am positive, and I stay positive. I don't want to see or hear any of my guys with any negative talk or with their heads down."

The Phillies are coming off one of their best springs ever, when the Phillies won a franchise-best 19 games. But it hasn't translated into many wins in April. It's baffled Manuel.

"It's surprised me," Manuel said. "I thought we'd get off to a better start of the season. I can't explain it."

Coming up: The Phillies will host the Colorado Rockies in a four-game set starting Monday, when Cory Lidle (1-2, 5.00 ERA) goes up against Miguel Asencio (0-0, 0.00 ERA). Philadelphia took two games out of three from the Rockies when the Phillies visited Colorado the weekend of April 14-16.

Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing writer for This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.