By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Is it safe to say there are no imminent plans to release Ryan Howard?

“Correct,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak told Angelo Cataldi during Monday’s 94WIP Morning Show. 

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Howard, 36, is hitting just .150 in 52 games for the Phillies. Recently, Howard was benched for 24-year-old first-baseman Tommy Joseph and many fans are calling for release.

Klentak says Howard, the 2006 National League MVP and two-time home run champion, deserves a positive ending to his tenure in Philly.

“We’re going to continue to play the season out as we go,” Klentak said. “As long as there’s no secrets and people aren’t holding back, I’m confident that this thing will end positively. Which is — whether it’s sooner than that or at the end of the year, or who knows. It should end positively. Ryan deserves that and that’s our goal.”

Listen: Matt Klentak on the 94WIP Morning Show

 

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Klentak said nothing has really changed for the Phillies’ perspective, despite Howard’s benching.

“The position, probably — at least from my perspective — is unchanged from where its been the last couple of months,” said Klentak. “Ryan Howard has done things for this franchise that no player, or very few players, have ever done. And we’re going to continue — as we have done throughout the offseason, through Spring Training, and the early part of the season — we’re gonna make sure he’s treated with the respect he deserves.

“But I think as importantly is to kinda recognize how Ryan has treated the situation,” Klentak said. “It’s tough, but he has been an incredible teammate and a mentor to Tommy Joseph. And even on days he’s not playing, he’s been a great teammate. He’s communicated well with Pete [Mackanin], with the coaches, with the players, etc.

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Joseph is hitting .301 in 23 games with the Phils. He has seven homers and 12 RBI’s as well.

“Tommy obviously earned playing time,” Klentak said. “He’s playing well, he’s hitting the ball out of the yard. Pete has been very open about this, but we have to make sure that Tommy continues to get the opportunities to develop at the major league level, just as Ryan got those opportunities after [Jim] Thome left 10 or so years ago.

“So, Ryan has done everything that he needs to do. I understand the debate that comes with it, but I think Ryan is doing everything right and I think Pete is doing everything right. Ryan is still second on our team in home runs. I know he’s hitting .150, but we could use the home run power. He’s got nine homers.”

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