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Braves Release Former Phillies Star Ryan Howard

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets
Could Ryan Howard’s career be over? (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves signed former Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard just about a month ago.  The 37 year-old former Rookie of the Year, MVP, and World Champion played 11 games with the Braves, batting .184 with one home run and five runs batted in.  Despite the audition being limited, the Atlanta Braves released Howard on Monday afternoon.

As I suggested in a recent 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag, May 9th was the magic day.  The Braves enter Interleague Play and will play two series over the next 10 days in American League towns.  In other words: the Braves will need a designated hitter.

Since Howard was deemed not ready to help the Braves for these series, the Braves decided to move on, as general manager John Coppolella indicated to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

“Given what Ryan has done and who he is as a player, when we made the decision to not select him for interleague play, we felt the right thing to do was give him his unconditional release,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said.. “We have nothing but good things to say about Ryan and wish him all the best going forward.”

Howard now becomes a free agent..

Finding a team to give Howard a minor league deal this past offseason was difficult enough for Howard, who hit 23 home runs last season.   But home runs are no guarantee for a job; the Brewers got 47 home runs from Chris Carter last season and he was non-tendered and then struggled to find a job.

With no designated hitter in the National League, the Braves did not appear to be a strong fit, with their window for a designated hitter being short.  With that window closing, Howard’s time with the Braves has ended. And so too may his baseball career.

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