Howard says MLB suspicions unfair, understandable

Ryan Howard says he does get it. He lives and works in a world where Manny Ramirez gets suspended for 50 games for using a performance enhancing drug, and Alex Rodriguez gets a book written about him, and everyone is under suspcion. And, yes, he says he can acknowledge that cloud.

“I think it is unfair. At the same time, you can kind of understand it because of what continues to happen,” Howard said. He was talking on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” program this morning, on an off-day for the Phillies when he was doing some promotional appearances for Subway.

“What Major Leagues baseball is doing with the testing is great because it seems to be working,” Howard said. “Hopefully, we’ll get to the point where nobody has to worry about it again and it’ll be completely out of the game.”

There has never been an ounce of suspicion directed in Howard’s direction. He has said in the past that the testing program is what he leans on for objective truth -- that if you pass, you’re clean. There is a problem there, of course -- Ramirez himself has said that he passed about 15 drug tests in the past -- but the testing program, however weak by international standards, is really all the sport has right now as it attempts to project a clean image.

“I was just shocked,” Howard said, describing his reaction to the Ramirez news last week. “I was surprised at what happened. Now, to me, it’s kind of unfortunate that it’s happened. He’s come out and accepted it and it’s just time to move on.”

As for the up-and-down Phillies, “I think we’re starting to get into a rhythm,” Howard said. And as for the hangover effect from winning the World Series, Howard says it might have been there, “maybe a little try to enjoy it as long as you can.” But he says it is done now.