Sep 022010

Phillies 1B Ryan Howard

September 2 Philadelphia Daily News

“Given the omnipresence of paparazzi in these parts, the most remarkable part of the power lunch that went down in SoCal on Tuesday was the fact that it went undetected. With the Phillies in town for their three-game series against the Dodgers, first baseman Ryan Howard met up with major league home-run champ/offseason mentor Barry Bonds for some food and conversation at an L.A.-area restaurant.

That night, Howard hit a three-run homer off of Dodgers righthander Ronald Belisario, his first extra-base hit since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 21.

“We had a good conversation,” said Howard, who worked out with Bonds in Tampa, Fla., this offseason. “Some of it was about baseball, some of it was everyday, shoot-the-breeze type stuff, everyday conversation . . . Just went back and reiterated what we were talking about before, earlier in the year, and then tried to go put it in play.”

The lunch – Howard described his entree as a veal/chicken-parmesan-style dish – appears to have paid dividends. Howard, who went 4-for-36 with 16 strikeouts in his first nine games back from a sprained ankle, hit a double to deep right-center yesterday in the Phillies‘ 5-1 win over the Dodgers.

He said he has kept in touch with Bonds, the all-time home run leader with 762, periodically during the season.

Bonds, who has been dogged by steroid allegations, was unable to land a job after the 2007 season, despite posting a 1.045 OPS and 28 home runs in 477 plate appearances that year.

“I give him a call from time to time,” Howard said. “He’s happy. He looks like he could still play if he wanted to.””

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