Amaro then added the dreaded "but," that "it may be something that he'll have to navigate through the entire season."
Held out of the starting lineup for the sixth straight game Saturday -- and he wouldn't have played Sunday against Cubs southpaw Ted Lilly anyway -- the Phillies announced the move after Saturday's 11-7 win over Chicago. Chris Coste, the feel-good story of 2006, returns from Triple-A Ottawa.
While the Phillies will happily take Howard's grand slam on Wednesday that helped beat the Diamondbacks, that appearance cost them three days of retroactive time. The key here is getting Howard back as close to healthy as possible.
Howard said the injury extends to the first game of Spring Training, when he felt something in a game against Detroit. Since the discomfort "came and went," Howard thought nothing of it.
"It's more of a stretch, running and stuff like that," Howard said. "I wasn't really sure what it was. It started getting more constant. I might linger for the rest of the season, but the key thing is to try to get it to the point where it's minimal. Hopefully, with the rest, it will get better, and I'll be able to tolerate it.
"They said rest is what I need."
In his stead, Greg Dobbs is likely to get the majority of the starts at first base -- at least against right-handed pitching. The lefty had a great start on Saturday, collecting four hits, including a two-run triple that put the Phillies up in a six-run seventh inning. Coste will assume Dobbs' role as a pinch-hitter off the bench.
"We're definitely going to miss him," Abraham Nunez said. "Hopefully, we can do a good job until he comes back."
You can take this one:
Aaron Rowand will happily defer to teammate Chase Utley in the quest to lead
the team in hits by pitches.
Rowand, who often is getting plunked in every possible place, has been lapped by Utley. Rowand's
five hits by pitches are nothing to Utley's National League-leading 12. Utley is two off his career high of
14 (set last season), and on pace to get plunked 55 times.
"I don't mind losing that title," Rowand said. "I had 18 last year, and he's got 12 in six weeks.
It's all right. I've been hit so many times in the last three or four years. I'm always in the top five. I'm
taking more walks this season than hit by pitches, and that's fine."
"Not to totally give in," Rowand added, "he seems to get hit with offspeed pitches and I get drilled
The Phillies plated their fifth run in an unconventional way Saturday, with a well-executed suicide squeeze by catcher Carlos Ruiz.
Plays like that typically hinge on timing, and the Phillies had the perfect opportunity. Abraham Nunez had just tripled in a run, and been called safe on a close play at third. With Aramis Ramirez playing even with the base, Nunez took off as lefty Scott Eyre threw to Ruiz, who bunted it past the mound.
With no play at home, Ramirez had no choice but to throw to first.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Phillies haven't pulled off a suicide bunt this decade, though they've had two similar plays. Utley recorded a bunt single on Sept. 8, 2004, with a runner on third, but there were two outs at the time, so that couldn't have been a squeeze play.
On Aug. 4, 2002, Marlon Anderson recorded a sacrifice bunt off Los Angeles' Omar Daal, which scored Travis Lee from third. There is no way of telling if that was a squeeze play.
Saving the day:
Brett Myers will tell you that the ninth inning is still just about getting people
While he's right about that, Myers has fared well in transitioning to his new role as closer. The
right-hander is 0-0 with a 0.73 ERA in 11 relief appearances, and has converted all three of his save
chances. He's struck out 17 in 12 1/3 innings.
"He brings a lot to the table," Ryan Madson said. "His stuff is so good and his arm has been
rubber. He's taking this as a challenge to see if he can do it. That's another thing that's going to
Saturday starter Freddy Garcia doubled in the second inning, the 11th hit by a Phillies pitcher this season. Philadelphia is third in that area, behind the Mets (15) and Marlins (14). Last season, Phillies
pitchers finished last in the league with 29 hits. ... Phillies chairman Bill Giles will autograph copies
of his book, "Pouring Six Beers at a Time," on Sunday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET, in the Majestic Clubhouse
Store. ... Only 500 tickets remain for the annual autograph party and auction to benefit ALS (Lou Gehrig's
Disease) on May 21. ... Former reliever Rheal Cormier signed a minor-league deal with the Braves on Sunday, after being released by the Reds on May 9.
Jon Lieber, who will take the mound in Sunday's 1:35 p.m. ET series finale against the Cubs, had his start pushed back two days because of a cut on his finger, suffered on
Wednesday, when the pitcher was slicing food. The right-hander surrendered Barry Bonds' 744th career home
run in his previous outing, and allowed a total of four runs on seven hits and two walks, losing his first
decision of 2007. The right-hander is 11-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 15 career starts vs. Chicago, and will be opposed by Lilly.