Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard missed Sunday's 3-2 win over Cincinnati with a sore knee. Instead of flying to Miami with the rest of the team, Howard stayed behind to get an MRI on the knee, the Phillies themselves report. The Phillies very well could find themselves placing both catcher Carlos Ruiz and Howard on the disabled list at the same time. We know that Humberto Quintero is joining the team in Miami. What should the team do in Howard's absence if that should happen?
It is very easy to jump on a Freddy Galvis bandwagon just a day after he hit a walkoff home run off of one of the most dominant closers in the game. Instead of throwing Kevin Frandsen at first base in place of Howard yesterday as he has done before, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel opted to play veteran Michael Young at first base and start Galvis at third base. Besides the game-winning home run, Galvis made several fantastic defensive plays at third base.
Galvis has been hitting, something that the majority of offensive players on the Phillies roster have not been doing. With a .298 average and .864 OPS, Galvis has outperformed most of the Phillies starting lineup. In Howard's absence, Would yesterday's alignment be the answer?
Young had 77 games at first base prior to yesterday's game and we all want Freddy Galvis in the lineup. However, one must consider who may replace Howard on the roster. Looking at AAA Lehigh Valley, Darin Ruf appears to be the most logical choice.
Ruf is currently hitting .267 with five home runs and 22 RBI. Ruf is hitless since going two for five on Tuesday and has struck out eight times since. But, that could be a small sample size. The Phillies say his defense in the outfield has vastly improved. Ruf has also played first base occasionally to keep him ready in case of injury to Ryan Howard. Now there is injury to Ryan Howard.
If not Ruf, then who? Somebody must be added to the roster. The Phillies were going to bring up any of their young players such as Cody Asche or Cesar Hernandez, it would be to play - not ride the bench. Veteran journeyman Fields has cooled off after a hot start and probably would be passed over. Pete Orr is the Phillies annual back-and-forth guy and can not be horrible playing part-time in the major leagues.
If Howard is out, I would bring up Darin Ruf and also make playing Freddy Galvis a priority. The Phillies can do that the same way that they could if Howard was present. Howard, Utley, Michael Young and Rollins can each have a day off a week. Delmon Young certainly does not need to play every day, and Domonic Brown could probably even use a day off now and then against a tough left-handed pitcher.
The Phillies are still in desperate need of an offensive boost. Ruf and Galvis could help provide that.