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Ryan Howard has officially been benched by the Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies v Los Angeles Dodgers

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 27: Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies sits on the field in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

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Jim Salisbury of reported yesterday that the Phillies have considered releasing struggling first baseman Ryan Howard with more than $60 million remaining on his contract and today is the day it becomes totally clear that the former MVP has been benched.

Philadelphia is facing a right-handed pitcher, which the left-handed-hitting Howard has made a career of knocking around, and that right-handed pitcher is Tim Hudson, against whom Howard has hit .328 with seven homers and a 1.112 OPS in a ton of career matchups.

So if ever there was a game to start Howard it’s today, yet manager Ryne Sandberg has Darin Ruf starting at first base. Ruf hits right-handed and it’s possible Sandberg will eventually simply platoon him with Howard at first base, but it’s also possible that Howard will be released with the Phillies eating a huge portion of his $125 million contract and the odds of that seemingly rose today.

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