Grape 13: Twins at Phillies

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Ryan Howard, off to a roaring start this spring, answers the most pressing topics, lighthearted and serious. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — For the 14th time in 14 days, Ryan Howard is in the lineup.

"If you're going to play 162 games, you've got to get in shape to play 300," Charlie Manuel said Wednesday.

The streak will end Friday; Howard is not in Manuel's lineup for the two-hour trip to Port Charlotte.

The manager laughs every day when he is asked about Howard playing. The Phillies want Howard to make up for lost time. The more live pitching he sees and the more activity on his legs, the better they believe he will handle the regular season.

There is the risk of overplaying Howard, but plenty of time to rest him remains. All indications are the Phillies will ease up on their first baseman eventually. Some three weeks are left in the spring.

Darin Ruf is back in the lineup, but not in left field.

PHILLIES (6-5-1)
1. Ben Revere 8
2. Freddy Galvis 6
3. Chase Utley 4
4. Ryan Howard 3
5. Michael Young 5
6. Domonic Brown 7
7. Darin Ruf 0
8. John Mayberry Jr. 9
9. Erik Kratz 2

Pitchers: Cliff Lee, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes and Zach Miner

First pitch: 1:05 p.m.
TV: TCN
Radio: None

Friday: Phillies at Rays (Kyle Kendrick vs. David Price) in Port Charlotte, 1:05 p.m.


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