Ryan Howard has been hurting all year, that much has been clear.
The extent of his injuries were not known until this past week, however when he was placed on the Disabled List and then it was reported today that he suffered a left meniscus tear and will need to undergo surgery to repair the tear. This will cause him to miss 6-8 weeks of the season, and given his past injuries (an Achilles tear on the same leg), it is unlikely that we will ever see the same Ryan Howard who won 2007 NL MVP and 2008 NLCS MVP.
Despite his incredible power numbers (six straight years of 30-plus home runs, 100-plus RBIs from 2006 to 2011), Howard has never been loved in this town due to his strikeout rate, and that feeling has just been exacerbated by his lack of production since the Achilles injury. Last year (.219 average, .423 slugging) was the start of his problems, and despite projections that he would rebound nicely in 2013, we’ve only seen flashes of his power. He’s struggled to drive the ball to the opposite field and that has resulted in poor overall hitting: 11 home runs, 43 RBIs, a .266 average and .465 slugging percentage.
Prospect Darin Ruf, who was called up recently from AAA Lehigh Valley, figures to play a lot in Howard’s stead.