Phillies

Oh boy — shoulder stiffness for Spencer Howard

Phillies

Spencer Howard missed two months last summer with shoulder fatigue. He left Saturday's game in Miami with shoulder stiffness, though he said this injury doesn't hurt quite like the last one.

"Not as severe as that (shoulder fatigue) but a comparable sensation," he said, describing the previous feeling as sharp compared to this dull feeling.

Howard said he is "not necessarily concerned about it," though he added it's too early to say whether he can make his next start. 

He hopes he has a say in the matter.

"I'm gonna do everything I can to make that next start and hopefully I'll be able to decide if I can make it or not," the rookie said.

Manager Joe Girardi said the team hoped to know more after Howard is re-evaluated Sunday.

Howard was cruising. He retired 10 of 11 before encountering trouble in the fourth inning of the Phillies' 12-6 win. He allowed a three-run home run to Brian Anderson and was visited by Girardi and a trainer. After a brief conversation, Howard's night was over.

It took Howard longer than usual to get loose. His shoulder felt stiff until the ends of innings.

"Past couple days, just been a little tight in my shoulder," he said. "The warmup process was just getting longer and longer."

The Phillies cannot afford to lose Howard for any length of time. They simply don't have the starting pitching depth to make up for it. Especially with Zack Wheeler pushed back twice this weekend because of his fingernail injury. They had a bullpen game Friday and likely another Sunday.

 

The injuries are mounting. J.T. Realmuto also left Saturday's game with hip discomfort.

"We had been really fortunate up to that point," Girardi said. "A lot of clubs have had to deal with this. Tough part of our schedule, we just have to grind through it."