The Phillies have pulled the plug on trying to teach Ryan Howard to play outfield. Simply put, Howard did not look good at all when trying to catch fly balls. He looked very uncomfortable and the Phillies figured it wasn't worth the time and effort to help him assimilate to the new position. So don't hope to see Ryan Howard much this season except for when Mr. Thome takes a day off.
Howard, 25, hasn't played leftfield in any real games either in the minors or majors. He hit a combined 48 home runs playing first base in Double A, Triple A and the majors last season using a swing Charlie Manuel helped modify last year when Manuel was a front-office adviser. Manuel loves the swing, but, after witnessing Howard play in four intrasquad games and seeing Howard shag flies during defensive drills and take one-on-one work with coach Gary Varsho, Manuel can't stand to watch Howard tromp around the outfield any more.