Ryan Howard 1B PHI 3 Days

Ryan Howard finished 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI in Monday's 7-0 romp over the Dodgers.

After finishing Easter Sunday's 10-9 win over the Rockies one double short of the cycle, Howard showed no hangover, this time doing his damage against a left-hander. Southpaws have always played the Globetrotters to Howard's Generals (.198/.254/.350 slash line the past three seasons), so it's nice to see him take a left-hander deep, even if he only gets partial credit because it was Paul Maholm. Howard could reward owners nicely if he stays healthy this season. He's hitting .271/.363/.543 with five homers and 12 RBI through 70 at-bats.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 4 Days

Ryan Howard went 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in Sunday's 10-9 win over the Rockies.

The game was an absolute slugfest, and Howard provided plenty of punch. The first baseman hit a two-run homer in the third inning before legging out his first triple of the season in the sixth inning. He finished with three runs scored in the game. It was Howard's first four-hit game since July 30, 2011.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 22 Days

Ryan Howard went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run against the Rangers on Wednesday.

Howard blasted a Robbie Ross slider deep to center field in the third inning for his first blast of the season. Hampered by a torn Achilles and then a torn meniscus, Howard is a shadow of the player he used to be, but a healthy and productive season would go a long way towards restoring confidence in the first baseman. That he homered off of a lefty, typically his nemesis, is a good sign.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 23 Days

Ryan Howard will bat fifth Tuesday against the Rangers.

Howard has started 665 straight regular season games out of the cleanup spot dating back to 2008, but Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has dropped him down to fifth against left-hander Martin Perez. It looks like he'll still hit fourth against right-handers, but the change is nice to see. Marlon Byrd will hit cleanup Tuesday.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 1 Month

Ryan Howard went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against the Red Sox on Friday.

Manager Ryne Sandberg has been weighing batting Howard fifth against lefties, but the first baseman was in the cleanup spot today against Jon Lester. After the 0-for-3, he's batting .234 with just one homer and 18 strikeouts in 47 at-bats this spring. At this point, it's well worth wondering if he should even be cleaning up against righties.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 2 Months

Ryan Howard batted fifth in Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Braves.

Meanwhile, Marlon Byrd was moved into the cleanup spot. Howard hasn't batted anywhere other than the cleanup spot since 2008, but Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg should at least consider doing it against left-handed starters.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 2 Months

Ryan Howard said Saturday that he feels like he can play all 162 games in 2014, and dedicated his offseason workout routine toward achieving that goal.

Howard, who is in the third year of a five-year $125 million contract, has played a total of 151 games the past two season due to injury. He also admitted that the leg injuries were a factor in his diminished power the previous two years. His power and run-production ability make him a nice target as a corner infielder in mixed league drafts, but you have to be weary of the injury concerns and take that into account when deciding on his draft day valuation.

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 3 Months

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg is "optimistic" about Ryan Howard's health.

"Ryan Howard joined us in the last three games of the season and he looked good," Sandberg said. "Now he's had four months of training and working out in Clearwater. I know he's dropped some weight and doing some baseball activities." Howard's surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee ended his 2013 campaign prematurely, the second straight injury-ravaged season he's suffered through. "I think he's going to be on the field and healthy and he's going to provide solid offense for us," said general manager Ruben Amaro. "And I know if he's on the field, that's what he's doing, and we'll win games because he is on the field. ... He's 100 percent. There's nothing medically wrong with him. His knee's fine. His calf's fine. It's time for him to play and produce."

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 8 Months

Ryan Howard (knee) is not expected to return this season.

Howard began baseball activities Thursday, but the Phillies' main concern is getting their first baseman healthy for the start of next season as he works his way back from knee surgery. "Counterproductive," interim manager Ryne Sandberg said of the prospect of Howard returning this season. "At this point, counterproductive. We're talking about his health, getting healthy and getting strong, and having the offseason ahead of him. You don't want any fallbacks or anything. I think until he gets into baseball shape, which is not going to happen between now and the middle of September or the end of September ... we'll have him get in baseball shape."

Ryan Howard 1B PHI 8 Months

Ryan Howard (knee) will begin baseball activities on Thursday.

He was given clearance after visiting with a doctor Monday. Howard has surgery five weeks ago to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and will be eased back into things. The Phillies aren't ruling out a late-season return, but assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said the main goal is to get him "to the point where there are no surprises in spring training next year."