Spencer Howard, the Phillies top prospect coming into the 2020 season, threw off of a mound shortly after reporting to camp, but won’t be returning to the mound for a little while. Howard was doing broad jump exercises recently and felt a little twinge of pain in his right knee.
Just to be sure, the Phillies did an MRI of his knee and there was no damage. Howard told Todd Zolecki of Phillies.com that he “just kind of landed funny,” and stressed that there was no reason for concern and called it “no big deal.” Over the weekend, Howard participated in some sprints, so the knee clearly is not a big deal and he should be able to return to the mound in the near future.
The Phillies will seek to limit Howard’s innings early in the year in hopes that he could help at the major league level later in the season. He pitched less than 100 innings in 2019 – 71 innings over three different levels – so they want to keep his workload as low as possible while still pushing his innings count higher. Howard added 21 innings in the Arizona Fall League following the season.
In the minors last season, Howard went 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA, pitching with both Gulf Coast League teams, Clearwater and Reading. It’s possible he will open the season with Clearwater to work in warmer weather and then either rejoin Reading or move to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.