There is no pitcher Ryan Howard has opposed more times than Tim Hudson, who started Thursday afternoon for San Francisco. Howard has confronted Hudson 80 times and homered in seven of those plate appearances. He is a career .328 hitter with a .425 on-base percentage and .687 slugging percentage against Hudson.
But Howard was not in Ryne Sandberg's lineup Thursday.
This, of course, is just another piece of evidence to support the notion Howard's time with the Phillies is nearing a conclusion. The Phillies, Sandberg said, plan to audition other players with eyes toward the future. One of them is Darin Ruf. He started at first base again Thursday and batted sixth.
Howard has not sat for consecutive games this season until now.
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