LAKELAND, Fla. — Ryan Howard was never described as "fast," nor will he ever be after Achilles surgery. But in his first 71 games with the repaired tendon, his gait was snaillike and downright painful to watch last season.
Howard insists his speed will improve, to a certain extent. He attempted to show it during his second Grapefruit League game.
The first baseman doubled in consecutive innings against Detroit. After the first one, he was caught between second and third on a John Mayberry Jr. grounder. Howard made several cuts to prolong the rundown so Mayberry could advance to second base.
Howard, after his second double, successfully tagged up from second to third on a Darin Ruf flyout to center field.