Phillies slugger Ryan Howard gestures toward the crowd after hitting a solo home run against the Atlanta Braves last Friday in Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA — There’s a reason why Ryan Howard was limping around the field.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ slugger needs surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and will miss at least six to eight weeks. An MRI on Monday confirmed the tear in his knee. A date for surgery hasn’t been set.
“It could have been much more significant damage,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We don’t want any of our players on the DL. But we know what it is and it’s treatable. Hopefully we can get him back in time to play this year.”
Howard, the 2006 NL MVP, went on the disabled list Saturday. The three-time All-Star was hitting .266 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs. He was noticeably hobbling during games before he was shut down. He said he continued to play through the pain because he thought he could perform.
“We have to take care of it,” Amaro said.
Howard played his first game last season on July 6 after tearing his left Achilles tendon making the final out in the 2011 NL division series. The 33-year-old first baseman has been on a steady decline since signing a $125 million, five-year contract extension on April 26, 2010.
Howard averaged 50 homers and 143 RBIs between 2006-09. He hasn’t hit more than 33 or driven in more than 116 runs since then.
Darin Ruf, who hit 38 homers at Double-A Reading last year, replaces Howard. Ruf had been playing left field in Triple-A.
Howard is the latest star player to land on Philadelphia’s disabled list. Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz missed significant time and Roy Halladay remains out after having shoulder surgery.
Backup catcher Erik Kratz had surgery for a torn meniscus on June 12 and already has started a rehab assignment, so he’s ahead of schedule.
“Hopefully we will have the same sort of time frame, but everyone’s knee is different,” Amaro said, comparing Howard to Kratz. “We can only speculate the length of how long it will take to get him to rehab. We’ll shoot for the conservative one and hope he comes back faster.”
Derek Jeter tests ankle in 5 innings for Scranton
MOOSIC, Pa. — New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter went 0 for 2 with a walk and a run scored in five innings for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday night in his third game back from an ankle injury.
Jeter tested the left ankle several times while playing the field for just the second time and was part of four defensive plays.
He fielded two grounders, caught one pick-off attempt at second base and tagged out a runner on a close fielder’s choice call in which he took a throw from the catcher and had to drop to his knees to apply the tag.
Jeter reached on an error in the first inning, walked leading off the third and came around to score three batters later, and grounded out to third in the fifth.
It didn’t take any time for Jeter to get action in the field. The first batter of the game hit a slow chopper out to short. The Yankees’ captain mildly charged the ball and threw in time to get the out.
He fielded just one grounder in his only other rehab game in the field. The 39-year-old was also tested in his first at-bat hitting a chopper to short. His hustle down the line forced Rochester shortstop Doug Bernier to hurry the throw, which was in the dirt as Jeter reached on the error.
On a single to right by the next batter J.R. Murphy, Jeter sprinted to third and slid in safely. It was the second time in two games he went from first to third on a single. Brent Lillibridge the flied out to center, but the ball wasn’t deep enough for Jeter to try to score.
Jeter walked in his second at-bat — his fourth base on balls in three games — then moved to second on a single and scored one out later on another single. He grounded out in his third trip to the plate and was replaced in the field by Walter Ibarra to start the sixth inning.
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