Ryan Howard will begin a new consecutive-games streak, perhaps as soon as tonight. The slugging first baseman, whose major league-leading 343-game stretch was snapped Sunday when a bout with acute sinusitis prevented him from showing up at Citizens Bank Park, is expected to fly to Tampa today and rejoin the Phillies in time for the start of tonight's rematch with the defending American League champion Rays.
Howard, who hit a three-run, pinch-hit home run Saturday night after a visit to Suburban Mercy hospital with a 104-degree fever, was in the emergency room again early Sunday morning. He was seen by team doctor Marc Harwood yesterday and was diagnosed with sinusitis. His fever is gone, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement, leading to optimism that Howard will play tonight.
"If he feels better, Ryan will travel [today] to Tampa Bay to rejoin the team," Amaro said. "We are hopeful he will be able to play [tonight] as well." *
- David Murphy