{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Howard turns 'day off' vs. lefty into positive

|
Howard turns 'day off' vs. lefty into positive play video for Howard turns 'day off' vs. lefty into positive

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard was out of the Phillies' lineup for Thursday afternoon's series finale. It was the first time this season Howard hasn't started, but Ryne Sandberg was quick to caution against reading too much into the decision even though left-hander Alex Wood started for the Braves.

"It's just an opportunity for John Mayberry to get in there and get some at bats to keep him sharp. And it also gets Ryan off his feet for a day game after a night game. That's all it is. Nothing more than that," the manager said.

Howard was 3-for-17 (.176) with eight strikeouts in 19 plate appearances against lefties entering Thursday's action. But he came through against Wood as a pinch-hitter, drawing a walk in the eighth to maintain the Phils' lone rally of the day in a 1-0 victory.

"It was a big at-bat that got the winning base hit up to home plate. So once again, he laid off pitches, he didn't go out of the zone and force anything, he took his walk and then gets to the top of the order," Sandberg said. "So it's a quality at bat right there that really set up the whole thing."

Sandberg had to have liked the approach, stressing the need for Howard to be patient at the plate before Thursday's game.

"Being in the power spot right there he still has the ability to drive in runs with the offense that we have, the guys ahead of him and the guys batting after him. So that's why it's important for him to make the pitchers come to him. A lot of the strikeouts are on balls that are out of the zone. That's something that he's aware of and trying to make the adjustment."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español