Friday, February 12, 2016

Howard will DH, bat cleanup

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Charlie Manuel said he originally picked Ryan Howard over Joey Votto for the All-Star Game because Howard was "his guy."

Howard will DH, bat cleanup

Ryan Howard will be the National League´s designated hitter in tomorrow´s All-Star Game. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)
Ryan Howard will be the National League's designated hitter in tomorrow's All-Star Game. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Charlie Manuel said he originally picked Ryan Howard over Joey Votto for the All-Star Game because Howard was "his guy."

Well, when Manuel and his staff were making out the National League lineup during their cross-country charter flight Sunday night, the Phillies manager settled on a familiar name for his designated hitter and cleanup batter: Howard.

But Manuel was obviously prepared to defend his decision of starting the lefthanded hitting Howard against American League starting pitcher David Price, a lefty.

"Not only he's my guy," Manuel said, "but he has 119 at-bats against lefthanded pitchers. He has six home runs and 20 RBIs. He can hit them. He's hit the most home runs probably of anyone in the National League the last three or four years. He's hitting .294. He's very capable of hitting fourth in an All-Star lineup."

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All the stats are right -- except Howard has 129 at-bats vs. lefties -- but you get the picture.

Manuel also likes the balance of his lineup with Howard in it. Five of his top six hitters are righthanded; Howard being the lone exception.

The manager said Howard didn't need to do any campaigning on his part.

"I thought he fit," Manuel said.

Manuel named Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez his starter but said he was still undecided if his ace, Roy Halladay, would pitch.

Halladay leads the majors in innings pitched at the break and the Phillies have entertained the idea of resting him.

"If he does pitch, he's not going to pitch more than an inning," Manuel said. "Hell, he might throw five pitches. He might throw 15. He might throw 20. Or he might throw to one or two hitters. We'll see."

Halladay will have a built-in rest regardless if he pitches or not. He will not make his first start after the break until Sunday in Chicago.

And lastly, a non-All-Star related note: Catcher Dane Sardinha cleared waivers and will report to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Sardinha will almost certainly be back in September when the rosters expand to 40. He left a good impression on Manuel.

OK, off to see the National League players...

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