Ryan Howard Returning to Playing Shape for Phillies

Ryan Howard never really got back into the swing of things when he returned from his achilles injury this season.  The power-hitting first baseman played in just 71 games in 2012.  He struggled and admitted to being out of shape.  Now, though, Howard is shedding the pounds and getting closer to his playing weight.

According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, Howard has been working out and has lost a significant amount of weight.  This info comes courtesy of Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

“I think he’s lost a significant amount of weight, which bodes well for him,” the GM said.

Howard was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2005.  He followed that up by winning the National League MVP in 2006.  However, he has seen a decline in recent years.  From 2006-2009, Howard didn't hit less than 45 home runs in a single season.  Since then, he hasn't hit more than 33.  In addition, Howard has some significant struggles when returning from his ruptured achilles this past season.

Howard hit just .219/.295/.423 with 14 home runs this past season.  He and the rest of the Phillies have had a tough time maintaining their run of success.  In fact, Philadelphia missed the postseason this year. They made the postseason in 2011, but watched as Howard ruptured his achilles on the final out of the NLDS that season.

Philadelphia showed signs of life in the second half of 2012.  They made a run after being left for dead all season long.  Unfortunately, it was not enough.  The team finished 81-81.  They hope a fully healthy Howard will help them get back on track.

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