CLEARWATER, FL— Newly trim Ryan Howard singled in his first two at-bats of spring training, and the Philadelphia Phillies tied the New York Yankees 5-5 Wednesday in their spring training opener.
On a warm, sun-splashed day on the west side of Tampa Bay, the scoreboard said it was 92 degrees at game time — perhaps 10 degrees more than the actual temperature but a contrast to the cold, snowy winter in the northeast.
Trying to regain the form that made him one of the top hitters before he tore his left Achilles tendon injury during the 2011 playoffs, Howard hit an opposite-field single to left in the second inning and lined a single to right in the fourth.
He’s standing up straighter at the plate and dropping his hands.
“Looked at some old video and stuff,” he said. “Back in ’06, I was way down and then it looked like I was steadily creeping up over the years.”
Howard lost 15-20 pounds since November, when he started on a diet to eliminate sugars. His listed weight had been 250.
“You have a cheat day or whatever every once in a while,” he said, “but for the most part, just trying to stick with it.”
The Yankees’ Aaron Judge, a 2013 first-round draft pick, hit a tying, three-run homer on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in a four-run ninth off Mario Hollands.
Phillies: RHP Kevin Slowey, in camp with a minor league contract, is to start for the Phillies against the Yankees on Wednesday in Tampa. Slowey hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since he was released by the Miami Marlins last June with a 5.30 ERA and 53 hits allowed in 37 1-3 innings.
Yankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi, a teammate of Slowey’s on the Marlins, is to start Wednesday against the Phillies. New York obtained Eovaldi, outfielder Garrett Jones and minor league pitcher Domingo German from Miami in December for Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps.
Yankees: Minor league C Luis Torrens has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will miss the season. Dr. David Altchek is to operate Wednesday.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Harang was scheduled to start Wednesday but his name was missing when the pitching schedule was posted in the Phillies clubhouse. Harang said he was dealing with “maintenance” issues. Harang said he saw a chiropractor and that is normal for him in spring training. He expects to pitch Monday.
Yankees: RHP Adam Warren allowed one hit in two innings. He felt constrained by the new clock timing 2 minutes, 25 seconds for breaks between half innings. The final warmup pitch must be thrown with 30 seconds left. “I couldn’t believe it. How am I going to get eight pitches in a minute, 50 seconds.”
Phillies: RHP David Buchanan started in place of Jerome Williams and gave up one run and five hits in two innings. He allowed the Yankees to score in the first on consecutive two-out singles by Chris Young, Jones and Jose Pirela — one of New York’s second base candidates. Bullpen coach Rod Nichols informed Buchanan of the start at breakfast. “I was eating some oatmeal and Rod came up to me and said, ‘Hey, you’re throwing first today,’” Buchanan recalled. “I try to throw strikes, keep the ball on the ground. Unfortunately they found holes today.”
RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer
Source: The National Herald