PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The struggling Ryan Howard was benched last Thursday against Tim Hudson, a right-handed pitcher Howard has killed over his career. Ryne Sandberg said on Monday, that Howard wasn’t happy about the benching.
“I wanted to see Darin Ruf play against the right-hander today [on Thursday],” Sandberg told the 94 WIP Morning Show. “As expected, he wasn’t happy not being in the lineup. I understand that, I get that. So yeah, he was angry.”
Sandberg also talked with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT about his decision to bench Ryan Howard last week after a slump which saw the team’s leader in RBI hit only one homerun over a span of 28 games.
Sandberg said he wanted to give Howard some time to contemplate his technique and, so far, has been satisfied with the results.
“It looked like to me that he’d had a rough go for about a month as far as driving the ball and coming up with mechanics and an approach at home plate that allow him to drive the ball, so a couple days off to re-group and to think about an approach and to work with the hitting coaches and gather himself, I thought that was needed. He did bounce back the next day with a couple of line drive base hits and then yesterday, against a left handed pitcher, drove the ball,” he said.
Despite Howard’s struggles, he said he doesn’t question the slugger’s motivation.
“I know that ultimately he likes to win, so I think just an adjustment with his work habits and concentrating on baseball a bit more and getting tuned in to his job and to baseball to allow him to perform and do well each day, that’s something I talked to him about. I think going forward, I hope to see a more focused player and one that locks in the mechanics and is more productive,” Sandberg stated.
Sandberg also reflected on his Hall of Fame induction after yesterday’s ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York.
“I was game ready that day. With all those people out there and what it all meant, with the Hall of Famers behind you, [being at] the podium is an incredible thing and feeling. I had a high from all that and was excited about that…It’s the ultimate award in baseball,” he said.