CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Newly trim Ryan Howard singled in his first two at-bats of spring training, and the Philadelphia Phillies tied the New York Yankees 5-5 Wednesday in their spring training opener.
On a warm, sun-splashed day on the west side of Tampa Bay, the scoreboard said it was 92 degrees at game time — perhaps 10 degrees more than the actual temperature but a contrast to the cold, snowy winter in the northeast.
Trying to regain the form that made him one of the top hitters before he tore his left Achilles tendon injury during the 2011 playoffs, Howard hit an opposite-field single to left in the second inning and lined a single to right in the fourth.
He’s standing up straighter at the plate and dropping his hands.
“Looked at some old video and stuff,” he said. “Back in ’06, I was way down and then it looked like I was steadily creeping up over the years.”
Howard lost 15-20 pounds since November, when he started on a diet to eliminate sugars. His listed weight had been 250.
“You have a cheat day or whatever every once in a while,” he said, “but for the most part, just trying to stick with it.”
The Yankees’ Aaron Judge, a 2013 first-round draft pick, hit a tying, three-run homer on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in a four-run ninth off Mario Hollands.
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