MIAMI -- Ryan Howard will be with his Phillies teammates for the final four games of the season starting Thursday in Atlanta.
Howard has been on the disabled list since July 5. He had season-ending knee surgery to repair a cartilage issue shortly after that. The first baseman has spent most of his time rehabbing in Florida. Much of his work has been centered on getting into better physical shape. His leg injuries in recent seasons have prevented him from getting into top physical condition. New manager Ryne Sandberg has pulled no punches saying he wants Howard in top shape next season. He also wants Howard more prepared for games (see story). Sandberg will be able to deliver this message in person in Atlanta.
Howard has been playing in games in the Florida Instructional League. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. says Howard has dropped weight and is feeling good.
Howard will go through full workouts before the four games in Atlanta. He will do defensive work and take batting practice.
Sandberg is eager to get a look at Howard.
“Things have gone well in Florida,” he said. “This is something that he wanted to do and the organization is all for it.
“I’ve only seen him take some swings on video, so it will be good to see him actually take batting practice and ground balls and run the bases in Atlanta. It’ll be a good thing to see him for four days and be able to have a pretty good gauge on him.”
Ben Revere, recovering from a broken ankle, will finish up in the Florida Instructional League this week and head home. He will be ready for spring training.
The Phillies tendered contracts to three arbitration-eligible players on Friday night and set another free.
Reliever Jeanmar Gomez and infielders Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis were tendered contracts for the 2017 season while outfielder Cody Asche was let go after four seasons with the club.
The Phillies signaled their intention to let Asche go when they designated him for assignment, a move that removed him from the 40-man roster, on Friday afternoon. The club had the option of trading Asche — and likely had discussions with other clubs — but ultimately decided to non-tender him before the 8 p.m. deadline. The move made Asche a free agent.
The Phils had removed Asche from the 40-man roster to clear a spot for David Rollins, a left-handed reliever who was claimed off waivers from Texas on Friday (see story).
Galvis and Hernandez, the team’s regular shortstop and second baseman, respectively, were certain to receive contracts for 2017. Gomez was less certain. He saved 37 games for the Phils in 2016, but struggled badly late in the season.
Phillies officials will try to negotiate 2017 salaries with all three players. If an agreement cannot be reached with a player, an arbitration hearing will be held later in the winter to determine that player’s salary for the coming season.
Gomez made $1.4 million in 2016, Galvis $2 million and Hernandez $525,000. According to mlbtraderumors.com, Gomez projects to make $4.6 million in arbitration, Galvis $4.4 million and Hernandez $2.5 million.
The Phillies' roster is full at 40.
Cody Asche's time with the Phillies has come to an end.
The Phillies claimed LHP David Rollins off waivers from the Texas Rangers on Friday. To make room on the 40-man roster, Asche was designated for assignment. The Phillies had until 8 p.m. on Friday to tender a contract to the outfielder, but they instead chose to free up the roster spot for Rollins.
Asche played four seasons with the Phillies from 2013-16 after he was drafted in the fourth round in 2011. The St. Charles, Mo. native had a .213/.284/.350 batting line this past season over 71 games. His best season with the Phillies came as their starting third baseman in 2014, hitting 10 home runs and driving home 46 runs in 121 games.
Rollins has been on four different rosters this offseason. He pitched 31 games in relief for the Seattle Mariners over the last two seasons, sporting a 7.60 ERA over 34 1/3 innings. He was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs 15 days after the World Series and then subsequently claimed again by the Rangers.
Rollins was a 24th round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2011 MLB Draft and was traded a year later to the Houston Astros. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners picked Rollins in the Rule 5 draft after the Astros chose not to protect him.