Ryan Howard 1B PHI 2 days ago

Howard has been moved all the way down to seventh in the Phillies' order Thursday, CSN Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury reports.

These are dark days for Howard, as he is off to a terrible start and pitchers have taken note, giving him a heavy dose of fastballs in the early going with the knowledge that he probably won't be able to do much with the cheese. It had always been second nature to see Howard in the four hole, which allowed for him to still put up some solid RBI totals for fantasy owners, even if his talent suggested he should have been in a strict platoon and batting lower in the order. To add insult to injury, Jeff Francoeur of all people is hitting cleanup for the Phillies these days, which tells you all you really need to know.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 2 days ago

Howard has been seeing more fastballs this season than he has since he became an everyday player in 2005, the Phillies' official site reports.

Howard has seen fastballs 59 percent of the time this season. That is up from a low of 44.8 percent in 2009 and a high of 54.2 percent last season. Howard hasn't been able to catch up to the fastballs thus far, as he's hitting just .148/.148/.259 with 10 strikeouts in 27 at-bats. If his struggles continue, expect to see the Phillies start to work Darin Ruf into the lineup a bit more at first base.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 3 days ago

Howard is out of the lineup Wednesday, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports.

With the Phillies facing lefty Jon Niese, Wednesday represented a prime opportunity to sit Howard. It's been an awful start to 2015 so far for the hulking lefty slugger. He is hitting just .148 with zero walks and zero home runs, which is abysmal for a player with Howard's profile. Darin Ruf will get the start at first base Wednesday.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 5 days ago

Howard went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Sunday's loss to the Nationals.

Howard is off to a slow start with three hits in 20 at-bats this season. The Phillies will continue to go with Howard as their starter for now, but if his struggles continue he could start to lose some playing time to Darin Ruf as the season progresses.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 1 week ago

Howard is not in the lineup Friday, the Morning Call's Stephen Gross reports.

With lefty Gio Gonzalez on the mound for the Nationals, the Phillies will give Howard the day off and Darin Ruf will get the start at first base. Look for Howard to be back in the lineup Saturday against righty Doug Fister.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 1 week ago

Howard went 1-for-4 with a double in Monday's opener against the Red Sox.

Howard has been the center of trade speculation as the Phillies look to unload some of their older pieces, but his large salary figure has prevented the club from finding a potential suitor. Assuming he stays put, the lefty figures to assume regular first base duties with a spot in the middle of the lineup.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 1 month ago

Howard homered, doubled and drove in two runs in the Phillies' split-squad win over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Howard is now hitting .241 with two home runs in 29 at-bats this spring. The Phillies would like to trade Howard, but they have been unable to find a match in talks with other clubs due to his large contract and declining production.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 1 month ago

Howard said he lost 15 to 20 pounds by cutting sugar out of his diet this offseason, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

Howard has also made adjustments to his batting stance giving him a quicker path to the ball when he swings. He has needed to do something to try to adjust as his OPS has dropped from .931 in 2009 to .690 last season. The Phillies are hoping Howard shows signs of life at the plate this season as they have been unable to find a taker for him in trade talks to this point.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 2 months ago

Howard has been working on adjusting his stance at the plate for the past two or three months, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

Howard has seen his production decline significantly in recent seasons. Tinkering with his approach at the plate is a sign that he is aware he needs to adjust to how pitchers are attacking him. Whether the new approach sticks remains to be seen. The Phillies have tried to get Howard to adjust in prior years, but he never felt comfortable with a different approach.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 2 months ago

Manager Ryne Sandberg said the starting first base job is Howard's to lose this spring, CSN Philly reports. "Right now, unless he gets unseated he's the first baseman," Sandberg said.Sandberg's comments echo what GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has previously stated this offseason. The Phillies would still like to trade Howard, but the team has been unable to find a taker thus far. He is owed $60 million through 2016.