Ryan Howard day-to-day with groin injury

Ryan Howard sits in the dugout after getting replaced for pinch runner in the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, April 18, 2013. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

For the first time in 2013, Ryan Howard is out of the starting lineup.

The Phillies are facing a left-handed pitcher in St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia. Howard is 2-for-12 (.167) off Garcia with a home run and 6 strikeouts.

So, good day for a rest?

"Ryan’s got a sore groin," manager Charlie Manuel said. "But this is a good time, gives me a chance to sit him down. He can pinch hit."

Manuel went on to say he hopes he can start Howard on Saturday. Officially, the injury is listed as right groin tightness and Howard is day-to-day.

"He said something about it yesterday during the game, in the middle of the game," Manuel said.

Howard went 3-for-4 in Thursday night's game but was pinch ran for in the eighth inning. It was the second time in five days Manuel pinch ran for Howard, who has struggled mightily to get any kind of foot speed following Achilles surgery a year and a half ago.

Howard is hitting .274 with one home run and 5 RBIs in 16 games. 

One other minor news on the injury front: Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch in the left hand at an extended spring training game. An X-ray on his hand came back negative.

Ruiz, suspended for the first 25 games of the season for the use of a banned stimulant, is eligible to return to the lineup a week from Sunday.