PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro defended the club’s treatment of Ryan Howard in response to a newspaper report that questioned the use of cortisone on the star slugger last season.

The Phillies treated an injury to Howard’s left foot last Sept. 18 with a cortisone shot, an ailment the club termed as bursitis. Less than three weeks later, Howard tore his left Achilles’ tendon while running to first base after his final at-bat of the season.

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That injury has kept the three-time All-Star and former MVP, who signed a five-year, $125 million extension in 2010, out all season.

“I wanted to clear up some of the insinuations regarding a cortisone shot,” Amaro said Sunday during Philadelphia’s game against Boston. “The cortisone shot was treated for some (other) issue he had. It was not part of the Achilles’ injury. We didn’t feel it was an issue. That was resolved by the time he had his injury. One thing had nothing to do with the other.”

Amaro was responding to a story in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer suggesting that the cortisone shot may have contributed to the Achilles injury.

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A doctor in the Inquirer report was quoted as saying, “When it comes to the risk of an Achilles tendon tear, I’m concerned about cortisone.”

Amaro said the Phillies always put their players first.

“We’re probably one of the most conservative clubs in baseball in administering treatment, and we always want to make sure we have the player’s best interest,” Amaro said.

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