The Phillies will be without their star first baseman again Tuesday when they continue their three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Howard hit .313 last season and led the majors with 58 homers and 149 RBIs to earn NL MVP honors. However, he is hitting just .198 with five homers in 2007.
Howard did not start Monday’s series-opening, 4-3 loss, but fouled out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. According to the Phillies’ official Web site, manager Charlie Manuel plans to rest him for the remainder of this series to give his ailing left leg time to heal.
“We want to give him a rest to see if we can get his aches and pains well,” Manuel said. “Things that have been bothering him like his quad and knee. We want to get him 100 percent.”
The Phillies (14-18) have Thursday off, so Howard will not return to the lineup at least until they open a three-game home series with the Chicago Cubs on Friday. However, Howard will be examined by the team doctor when the Phillies return home, and the team could decide to place him on the disabled list.
Abraham Nunez went 3-for-4 with two doubles Monday for the Phillies, who fell to 3-5 on their 10-game road trip.
Chris Young also went 3-for-4 with two doubles for the Diamondbacks (18-16), who have won two straight after a five-game losing streak. Right fielder Carlos Quentin, who entered the game batting just .203, went 2-for-4 and hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth.
Rookie starter Micah Owings (1-1, 3.38 ERA) will look to lead Arizona to its third straight victory. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed three runs in five innings but did not receive a decision in Arizona’s 9-4 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday.
The outing was his first since April 17, due to a stint on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. Owings is making his fifth major league start and his first against Philadelphia.
The Phillies will counter with Adam Eaton (3-2, 8.18), who allowed six runs in five innings on Thursday but still earned a 9-7 win over San Francisco. The right-hander, who signed a 3-year, $24.5 million deal with the Phillies in the offseason, has allowed 21 runs in 21 1-3 innings over his last four starts and owns the worst ERA in the majors among qualifying pitchers.
“He had a tough six innings,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. “He has the stuff but he has trouble getting out of jams. I think the biggest problem is for him to make a few more quality pitches.”
Eaton is 3-3 with a 3.79 ERA in 12 career starts against the Diamondbacks.