The Phillies’ Achilles’ heel going into the playoffs might be Ryan Howard’s left ankle. The first baseman, who leads the NL in RBIs with 107, has been bothered by bursitis.
“When I’m up and walking, it loosens up,” Howard said. “I feel it some days. I feel it right now.”
The problem surfaced last month, but Howard plans to fight and play through the pain.
“I’m going out there unless I’m in the hospital,” Howard said.
The pain subsided when the Phillies had back–to-back days off last week, courtesy of Hurricane Irene.
“It definitely helped a little bit,” Howard said.
When the Phillies clinch a playoff berth, expect manager Charlie Manuel to rest some of his everyday players, including the Big Piece. Howard won’t be the only regular getting a break.
“We also have to watch Polly [Placido Polanco],” Manuel said. “He’s going to need a blow.”
However, Manuel does not intend to give his starting pitchers a break down the stretch.
“We have to make sure our pitching is ready and strong enough,” Manuel said. “We can’t have the guys in our rotation throw 75 pitches two or three times and expect them to throw 115 or 120 pitches in a playoff game. If we were to do that, we’d be back to square one.”