The Philadelphia Phillies are struggling mightily this season and things just got worse. The team announced today that first baseman Ryan Howard needs surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee and he will be out six to eight weeks as a result.
An MRI on Monday confirmed the tear in his knee and the 2006 NL MVP probably won’t be back until late August or early September. Howard has said he played through the injury for as long as he could before the pain became too much to deal with.
The three-time All-Star was hitting .266 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs when he was placed on the disabled list on Saturday.
The 33-year-old Howard’s career has been derailed by major injuries over the past few years. Last season he didn’t see the field until July 6 thanks to having to recover from a torn Achilles tendon. He tore the tendon while making the final out in the 2011 NL division series, and played just 71 games in 2012.
The Phillies need all the help they can get right now, as their record of 43-46 puts them 7.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East. They are also 7.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the final wildcard spot.
Darin Ruf and John Mayberry Jr. should see time at first base while Howard recovers. The big lefty first baseman was due to make $20 million this season and $75 million over the next three years, and the Phillies also have a $23 million club option for 2017, with a $10 million buyout. The team will likely be careful not to rush him back to action because of that hefty investment.