It's not a great situation. The Phillies infield is not the behemoth it once was, not with all the injuries they're battling through at least. ESPN's Jayson Stark takes a closer look at the unit that once dominated the National League and wonders if they ever will again.
Stark spoke at length with the only Phillies starting infielder who is healthy this spring, the loquacious Jimmy Rollins who shared a pretty damn bleak assessment of Howard's situation.
ON HOWARD: "I don't know what to think, honestly," Rollins says. "If you
ask me, with this infection, I don't know if he's going to play this
year, because after all the work that he's done, now he's got to hit the
"Oh, he's definitely out for two months. I can pretty much guarantee you
that," Rollins says. "And probably nothing before the All-Star break,
unless it's like Albert Pujols' fracture [which magically healed itself
in two weeks last summer]."
"Over the long term, [he'll] … be fine," Rollins says. "But that's where
'long term' is meaning, like, a year and a half. That's when he'll do
something and he'll say, 'You know what? That didn't bother me.' And
that's when you know you're fine, and you can go out there every single
day and not have to worry about it."
/starts to worry
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Jimmy! Why do you have to do this to us Phillies fans. Or perhaps Young James is just trying to get us to see reality.
It's also worth noting that J-Roll didn't become a Doctor over the summer and that the Phillies do not agree with his assessment. But he has had his fair share of leg injuries and knows his Big Piece pretty well.
Howard was in the dugout for his first spring training game this afternoon and spoke with reporters about where he stands. Does he have any idea when he thinks he'll be ready to return to regular season action? Jim Salisbury has that story:
"I don’t know. It all depends on how the skin heals and then as far
as the progression of trying to pick back up where I was,” Howard said.
“I’m going to try to stay optimistic and see what happens, but like I’ve
said before, there’s really no time limit on it. Once it’s 100 percent
we’ll go from there."
And we haven't even discussed Chase Utley yet.
>>Phillies infield shift: Jimmy Rollins is healthy, but Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are hurting [ESPN]