Ryan Howard signs minor-league deal with Colorado Rockies

Ryan Howard’s pursuit of a return to the big leagues got another breath of life.

The Colorado Rockies signed the longtime Phillie to a minor-league contract Saturday, more than three months after the 37-year-old former NL MVP was released from the Atlanta Braves’ triple-A affiliate.

Colorado’s current first baseman, Mark Reynolds, is hitting .278 with 23 home runs and 52 walks this season.

Perhaps the Rockies’ front office has memories of Howard’s 2009 NLDS tear, when he hit .375 with three doubles and six RBIs in the four-game series.

The Rockies’ announcement didn’t specify which level of the minors Howard would start with, but their social media account did take the chance to defend the decision to bring in Howard, who hit .184 with one home run, 11 strikeouts, and two walks in 42 plate appearances with the Gwinnett Braves.

“I know there is still more in the tank,” Howard said last October following his last game with the Phillies. “I tell my wife all the time, I’ll know when it is time. I just want to get it all out of the tank and have no regrets. I don’t want to sit at home and say, ‘You know, I wish I could still go back out there and play.’ I don’t want to have those kind of thoughts. I’ll know when it is time.”