Howard, Phillies Destroy Mets, Rack Up Some April Records

Howard, Phillies Destroy Mets, Rack Up Some April Records

Not a bad start to the homestand... The Phillies opened up the Mets' pitching and bled it for 10 runs while Vance Worley threw six shutout innings on their way to a 10-3 win. The Phils have now scored double-digit runs against the Mets in three straight contests and lead the season series, 3-1.

Ryan Howard homered twice, including a grand slam, which both tied him with Del Ennis for second on the all-time Phillies home run list at 259 and extended his record for most grand slams as a Phillie (10). Howard also now holds the team record for RBI in the month of April (27), which is pretty amazing considering how well he slugs later in the season (he already owns the Phillies' RBI records for August [41] and September [32]), and the fact that Chase Utley hasn't played a single game.

Placido Polanco scratched an April record of his own, notching his 39th hit in the month, most ever by a Phillie in April. Polly raised his average to .390. Three. Ninety.

Worley looked very good in his season debut, getting out of an error-induced jam in the first and staying settled through six shutout innings. Dating back to last season, he hasn't given up a run in 16 innings, per John Clark on the postgame show. Vance Refrigeration!

Worley walked four, but struck out five and allowed just two hits. He even notched his first MLB hit. Mike Stutes and Danys Baez each picked up a scoreless relief inning, but David Herndon shat the shutout bed, allowing a pair of homers and three total runs in the ninth. Herndon's April reminds me of the Padres reliever that Barney Coopersmith's wife leaves him for in My Blue Heaven. Fans, what are we going to do about David Herndon?

Jimmy and Benny each contributed a pair of hits, with Francisco knocking in a pair of runs in the fifth. One of Polanco's two hits on the night also plated a pair.

Always good to see the Mets get trounced, but regardless of the opponent, it's encouraging to see the runs piling up again and the Phils take a series opener.

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Phillies corner outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick is finally nearing a return. He'll begin a rehab assignment tonight with Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Kendrick has been out since April 15 with an oblique strain. He did defensive work during the Phillies' road trip and has been taking outdoor batting practice at home this week.

Kendrick was off to a hot start when the oblique injury sent him to the DL. In 10 games, he went 13 for 39 (.333) with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He batted second all 10 games.

The Phillies are in a bad offensive funk and could use Kendrick's bat over Michael Saunders' right now. The Phils' 1-2 hitters were among the most productive in the majors in April, hitting close to .350 for the month. They're down to .282 on the season as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have slumped in May.

With Clay Buchholz likely out for the season and Saunders providing little offense so far, the Phillies' trio of offseason veteran additions has not panned out through two months.

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

It's only natural to have some reservations about Lane Johnson after he was suspended for 10 games last season for his second violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. One more positive test and the Eagles will lose their starting right tackle for two full years.

Fortunately, Johnson seems determined to avoid any future run-ins with the league. The 27-year-old changed his entire approach this offseason, cutting out negative influences or any other voices at all while preparing for the 2017 season.

"I just trained by myself back in Oklahoma," Johnson said after the Eagles' first full-team practice of OTAs on Tuesday. "Trained by myself and everything went good. I came back, my body weight is about 325, so I'm heavier than I've ever been. I feel in good shape, and I have a lot to prove, so it's a big year for me.

"I did everything by myself. There wasn't going to be any mishaps."

Two suspensions totaling 14 games later, Johnson has gained a healthy fear of being unknowingly steered toward an illegal supplement.

Johnson tested positive for PEDs before the season last year after taking a banned substance known as peptides and was eventually slapped with the full 10-game penalty after a lengthy appeal process. The fifth-year veteran always maintained peptides were not listed on the label of the offending supplement.

Johnson filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the players' association in November after the suspension was upheld. Its status is ongoing.

Johnson also served a four-game suspension in 2014.

When he's not in trouble with the league office, Johnson is a vital cog in the Eagles' offense. They went 5-1 with him and 2-8 without him last season.

"I feel like whenever I'm playing, I try to be the best right tackle in the NFL," Johnson said. "My deal is to just stay on the field, play a complete season, and I think it will be a big year for me."

Johnson isn't concerned about losing a competitive edge, physically or mentally, after dropping supplements altogether.

"I've always been the athlete that I am," Johnson said. "That's what I'll continue to prove. I'm gonna go play and show people what I can do."

Signed in January 2016 to a five-year contract extension worth $56 million, Johnson has plenty to prove. He was working out in place of 35-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, who wasn't at the start of OTAs, on Tuesday and is expected to one day replace the nine-time Pro Bowl selection permanently.

Despite his checkered past, it sounds like Johnson knows exactly what's on the line, which is why he chose to go it alone this offseason. The only person you can trust is yourself.

Then again, Johnson still has his vices, which might raise some eyebrows with the news he's up to 325 pounds — eight more than his listed weight.

"My big deal is cutting out the ice cream, the Ben & Jerry's late at night — the stuff you want to indulge in," Johnson said. "If you get me on an ice cream binge, it's not good."

The Eagles can probably deal with a little extra ice cream, just as long as Johnson remains committed to keeping dodgy supplements out of his body.