August 26 Philadelphia Inquirer
Following his one-game rehabilitation assignment Friday with triple-A Lehigh Valley, Howard had played four consecutive games for the Phillies and has gone 2 for 19 with 10 strikeouts.
On Tuesday, he tied a franchise record with five strikeouts in the Phils’ 4-2, 16-inning loss to the Astros before he was ejected in the bottom of the 14th. Only six players had reached that mark before.
The length of Tuesday’s game, 5 hours, 20 minutes, prompted Manuel to sit him out Wednesday.
“When he stays on his ankle a long time, I’ve got to watch him,” Manuel said. “But also, he needs to find his swing. I know he’s got to play to do that, but at the same time, it was a good time to give him a day off.”
Also factoring into Manuel’s decision was that Houston was sending lefthander J.A. Happ to the mound on Wednesday.
Howard got into Wednesday’s loss in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter and singled.
On Tuesday, third base umpire Scott Barry called Howard out on a strikeout on a 1-2 count as Howard tried to check his swing. At that point, Howard was 0 for 7, recording his second straight hitless outing. He tossed his bat and helmet and ran toward Barry, a triple-A fill-in umpire.
Teammates had to restrain Howard, who was ejected for the second time in his career.
Howard declined comment Wednesday.
“It’s not an easy job,” Manuel said. “He’s put in a position where he has to umpire the game. He’s got a job to do, and hopefully he was doing it to the best he possibly could. . . . It’s not up to me to make judgment on it.””
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