Amaro: Howard's surgery 'went very, very well'

Amaro: Howard's surgery 'went very, very well'
July 10, 2013, 4:45 pm
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Ryan Howard's injury may not be as bad as was originally thought, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Wednesday's game.

Howard had successful surgery on his left knee on Wednesday morning and is still expected to miss six to eight weeks.

"It went very, very well," Amaro said. "[Dr. Michael Ciccotti] debrided it -- it was not a repair. He debrided his medial meniscus and it went really well.

"In fact, some of the arthritic things we had seen in the MRI after looking through the scope actually were even better than we thought they would look, so that's a good sign."

The first baseman is set to begin his rehab process at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday. Howard was placed on the disabled list before Saturday's game and is hitting .266 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs over 80 games this year. He had an MRI on Monday that showed a torn medial meniscus.

With the Phillies currently sitting 7.5 games out of first place in the division and 5.5 games out of the second wild card, the club will have to decide whether they'll be buyers or sellers well before the slugger's return. But Amaro did say the good prognosis on Howard could influence that decision.

"Probably, because I think we'll have him back, which is good," Amaro said. "We'll see.

"We still have a lot of question marks as to where we're gonna go in the next couple of weeks. Right now the team is making the decision harder on me, which is fine, good -- rather be in this situation than thinking about 2014 right now."

Darin Ruf will continue to see most of the playing time at first base in Howard's absence. Ruf has gone 4 for 10 with a double and two walks in four games thus far. He also went 11 for 33 in his brief stint in the majors last season, but he's still mostly an unknown.

So with Howard out, will the Phillies be able to stay in the hunt?

"It's a good question," Amaro said. "I don't think anyone [has] a real answer because we're not sure what Ruf and the other guys will do, but so far we're playing OK, particularly lately.

"If Cole [Hamels] starts reeling off some wins the way he has, and Cliff [Lee] continues to pitch the way he's pitching, and [Jonathan] Pettibone continues to pitch that way, we can remain optimistic."

Of course, the Phillies will need to continue to receive good starting pitching to remain in the race, but the biggest boost lately has come from the offense, which leads the National League hitting .299 in July. The Phillies are 6-2 in the month.