Ryan Howard was scratched from the Phillies' lineup and placed on the 15-day disabled list with left knee inflammation.  Laynce Nix will start at first base tonight against the Braves and the team recalled Darin Ruf from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Ruf is hitting .266 with seven home runs and 46 RBI in 82 games this season with the Iron Pigs.  Last season in 12 big league games Ruf jacked three home runs and drove in 10 runs, giving the team hope that he could be a big right handed bat in the everyday line-up.  Ruf played left field during spring training but could not land a job with the big club; struggling both defensively and at the plate.

Howard will have an MRI on Sunday or Monday, after which more should be known. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said the team will be "conservative" with their handling of their first baseman.

"It got to the point where we feel like it's time for him to get off of it, and we'll take care of it,'' Amaro told reporters. "It's obviously at the point where he's just not able to play. The discomfort is just too great.

This news comes a day after Howard took Paul Maholm deep for a 439-foot blast to center field in the third inning, his 11th home run of the season and his first since June 22.  Howard admitted that his knee was sore following Tuesday's game, and sat out Wednesday night against the Pirates.

For the season, Howard is hitting .266 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs this season. But he's fifth in the league with 95 strikeouts and is hitting .173 with 39 strikeouts in 81 at-bats against left-handers.