Surprise! Howard activated from DL

Ryan Howard has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and will start in tonight's game. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)

Well that was unexpected.

The Phillies have activated Ryan Howard from the 15-day disabled list Saturday -- only out of necessity as Ross Gload was placed on the DL with a right groin strain.

Howard was scheduled to play a second rehab game Saturday night, this time at triple-A Lehigh Valley, where they were expecting a sellout crowd. They will have to settle for seeing Greg Dobbs, who cleared waivers and accepted his minor-league assignment Saturday.

Howard (left ankle sprain) played one rehab game Friday for single-A Lakewood. He was 1 for 2 with a double, RBI and a walk. He played just six innings in that game.

Obviously, Gload's injury worsened in the last few days. He was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 19. He was originally injured Aug. 11 but pinch-hit on Aug. 17 and started at first base on Aug. 18.

This roster move has an interesting ramification: Rookie Domonic Brown is likely here to stay for the remainder of the season. Gload won't be eligible to return off the disabled list until Sept. 3. By then, rosters will have already expanded.

Brown offers a lefthanded bat off the bench with Gload disabled.

Ryan Howard is starting at first base and batting cleanup. But Charlie Manuel did not fill out his lineup card with the eight regulars.

Brian Schneider starts at catcher for Carlos Ruiz. Domonic Brown will give Jayson Werth a day off. Brown hasn't started a game since Aug. 11.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team would have liked to get Brown some regular at-bats in the minor leagues before the September stretch run but that will not happen. Brown is here to stay.

Instead, Manuel will attempt to insert Brown in the starting lineup when he can. Without an off day until Sept. 9, Brown could be used to rest the regular outfielders occasionally, like Saturday with Werth.

But mostly, Brown will have to adapt to his new role, and the Phillies are confident he can.

Here are the lineups for Strasmas:

1. Morgan 8
2. Desmond 6
3. Dunn 3
4. Zimmerman 5
5. Bernadina 7
6. Kennedy 4
7. Rodriguez 2
8. Harris 9
9. Strasburg 1

1. Rollins 6
2. Polanco 5
3. Utley 4
4. Howard 3
5. Victorino 8
6. Ibanez 7
7. Brown 9
8. Schneider 2
9. Kendrick 1