HOWARD HEADED TO THE ROCKIES’ FARM SYSTEM
The Rockies signed veteran first baseman and former National League MVP Ryan Howard to a minor-league contract Saturday and will assign him to Triple-a Albuquerque.
Ryan, 37, was a huge star for the Philadelphia Phillies but is well past his prime and hasn’t played in the majors this season. He provides some organizational depth and could be called up in September and used as a pinch hitter. He would be eligible for the playoffs if he is with the Rockies and they qualify for a postseason berth.
Howard, who bats left-handed, signed a minor-league deal with Atlanta in April, but the Braves released him in May. He played in just 11 games for the Braves’ Triple-a affiliate, hitting .184.
Because the Rockies signed Howard before the end of August, he would be eligible for the postseason roster, but he will have to show the Rockies that he can still hit for power to have any shot. He isn’t on their 40-man roster, so the Rockies would have to clear a spot on the roster if they want to call him up in September.
Howard was the National League rookie of the year in 2005, and he was the MVP in 2006, when he hit 58 home runs. He helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series. Before the 2010 season, Philadelphia signed Howard to a five-year, $125 million contract extension that started in 2012.
Howard became a free agent last November when the Phillies declined his 2017 club option for $23 million and bought out his contract for $10 million.
Black out. Bud Black wasn’t feeling well, so he didn’t manage Saturday night’s game against Miami. The Rockies described Black as “being under the weather.”
Bench coach Mike Redmond took Black’s place. Redmond last managed a big-league game May 17, 2015, for Miami at Marlins Park. He was fired later that day after losing to Atlanta.
Mark Wiley, the Rockies’ direc- tor of pitching operations, was on the bench to assist Redmond.
Freeland update. Rookie lefthander Kyle Freeland, on the 10-day disabled list while he recovers from a strained groin, threw a 35-pitch bullpen session Saturday. He is making progress toward returning to the rotation.
“I felt really good, no pain, full range of motion,” Freeland said. “I did a few PFPS (pitcher fielding practice) around the mound and I felt normal.”
Freeland was forced to leave his start in the top of the first inning during an Aug. 4 game against the Phillies. He is 11-7 with a 3.70 ERA. His 11 victories are still the most among majorleague rookies this season.