PHI@MIA: Howard doubles off third-base bag

BOSTON -- Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard woke up Monday morning with his left knee sore, but less so than Sunday.

This could be what the rest of his season is like: it is sore one day, really sore the next.

Howard did not play Sunday in Washington because of the injured knee, which required a cortisone injection May 19. But he was in the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"Right now I'm just looking at it day to day," Howard said. "Sometimes it's a little more, sometimes it's a little less. Obviously that's going to be something. Right now I'm looking at it day to day, and trying to run with the good days."

Howard said surgery is "obviously the worst-case scenario. I guess kind of if all else fails."

He said surgery has not been discussed at this point. But certainly a balky knee for a hulking first baseman who missed much of last season recovering from a ruptured left Achilles is cause for concern. Howard is in just the second year of a five-year, $125 million contract, which is the fifth-largest contract in baseball history based on average annual value ($25 million), and his OPS, a good indicator of a hitter's overall productivity, has been in decline since 2009.

"His leg is going to always be bothering him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He has some arthritis. It comes and goes in his legs. He's going to always be bothered by that. On the days when it really hurts him bad, maybe those are the days where I have to communicate him. He has to tell me."

Howard said he will communicate with Manuel whenever he feels he can't play, but he wants to compete.

"To me, you want to be out there, you want to play, obviously," he said. "You play hurt, you play injured to the best of your ability. Guys go out and play hurt, play injured. That's the part of your competitive nature. But it's about being smart about it, too. If it's something that continually bothers me to where it's, 'I can't go right now,' I'll let them know."

Howard is hitting .254 with six home runs, 25 RBIs and a .719 OPS in 181 plate appearances. Howard is tied for 56th in the Majors in RBIs and tied for 79th in home runs. In the past, he has been near the top in those categories.

Asked if he would drop Howard in the lineup, Manuel said, "He's kind of different than all those other hitters. If he's hitting the ball, he stands a good chance of knocking in runs. I don't really think moving him in the lineup makes a whole lot of difference really. How he's hitting on that day is how he's hitting. Some days he has bad days and other days when he's doing good ... if anything, I don't particularly like sending him a message. I don't think it's time in his career for me to send him a message."

So the Phillies will have to hope Howard can manage the continual discomfort in his knee, which he acknowledges affects him at the plate.

"Obviously it plays a factor with it being my push-off leg, you try to get that extra torque," he said. "But if I'm out there I'm trying to do what I have to do. I'm not making excuses."

 

X-rays negative after Revere slams into wall on catch

PHI@BOS: Revere robs Ortiz with a great running grab

BOSTON -- Phillies center fielder Ben Revere made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch in center field in the fourth inning on Monday at Fenway Park, but crumpled to the ground as he jammed his left elbow into the metal fence.

He remained in the game and said X-rays were negative.

"We're going to see how it feels tomorrow," Revere said following the 9-3 loss to the Red Sox. "They said there was no severe damage or nothing. To the bone, nothing. But I just kind of hit the cage door out there. I thought I was going to hit the pad. It kind of caught me off guard. My elbow ran into it. May be a little sore. But it's nothing serious."

Revere went 2-for-4 with a walk in the leadoff spot. The catch could have been a game changer on another day, except the Phillies trailed 6-1 at that point.

"Luckily, I've got strong enough bones," Revere said. "If it was somebody else it may have been bad, but luckily it wasn't serious."

Adams off his game in return from disabled list

BOSTON -- Phillies setup man Mike Adams looked less than sharp on Monday at Fenway Park in his first appearance back from the disabled list.

He allowed one run, one hit, three walks and struck out one in just two-thirds of an inning in a 9-3 loss to the Red Sox. He also threw 30 pitches, which makes him unavailable for Tuesday's game.

Adams had been on the disabled list with a mild back strain. The Phillies said last week they planned to have Adams make a rehab appearance Monday with Class A Clearwater before activating him Tuesday or Wednesday. But after a bullpen session Friday in Clearwater, Fla., the Phillies moved up his return to Sunday, despite the fact Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Adams looked rusty.

"He needs work," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He definitely needs work. The part that was discouraging was 30 pitches. That means that we can't use him tomorrow. He threw some balls that were close and he ended up walking some. … He felt like he could pitch, and if he threw to some hitters [Friday in Clearwater], he would be ready to go."

Phillies shake up lineup, drop Rollins to third

PHI@WSH: Rollins laces an RBI double down the line

BOSTON -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel can only play who he has on his roster, so he is limited in his lineup options.

But he dropped Jimmy Rollins from first to third in the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. He also moved Michael Young from third to second and returned Ben Revere to the leadoff spot.

Young has grounded into a Major League-leading 12 double plays. His .351 slugging percentage is 143rd out of 169 qualifying players in baseball.

"I did that just to mess around," Manuel said of moving Young out of the No. 3 spot. "Just to see if I can get something going. I'm just trying something. Put Jimmy in the third hole. Have a switch-hitter there. Just trying to shake it up some."