Interesting decision by Charlie Manuel tonight to put Ryan Howard back on the bench. Talked to Howard briefly prior to batting practice, and he obviously disagrees with the call, though he tried to be diplomatic about it.
“To me, you want to be in there, you want to play,” said the first baseman, who is hitting .169 this season. “Plain and simple. Regardless of who is on the hill or whatever you are doing. I guess that’s the move they wanted to make today, so that’s what they did.”
Manuel explained it thusly: Howard has started to see the ball better. He's getting good swings on the ball. He made great contact on a Sac Fly last night that scored a run. Manuel doesn't want him to take any steps back against Johnson, a lefty he has never faced before.
So, in Howard's place, Utley is back at first and Harman is at second.
Speaking of Harman, I talked to him a little bit in the dugout today. He's in an interesting situation. While the rest of the world awaits Jimmy Rollins arrival, Harman knows that Rollins' arrival means that he's headed back to Double A Reading. He seems to be taking it in stride. He said "about 40" people have already asked him about the situation, and he just keeps telling them that he's focusing on the present. Regardless, it's been an important experience for Harman, who is one of the Phillies' better middle infield prospects.
That's all for now.