Struggling Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard struck a defiant tone after Tuesday's game against the Houston Astros, telling reporters, "I think you guys forget what I've done."
The comment came after Howard had the game-winning hit and an earlier home run in the Phillies' 2-1, 15-inning win. The veteran was seemingly responding to the criticism he's taken during the worst offensive year of his career.
Howard's full quote, from the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"I think you guys forget what I've done," said a defiant Howard, who raised his OPS to .672, seventh-best on the Phillies. "You guys look at what's going on right now. People forget what I've done."
Since tearing his Achilles on the final play of the Phillies' season-ending loss in the 2011 NLDS to the Cardinals, Howard's productivity has declined dramatically as he's struggled to stay in the lineup. After maintaining an OPS of .835 in 2011, Howard played in just 151 games in 2012 and 2013 combined, putting up an OPS of .752 in that span.
This season has been particularly difficult for Howard, as his .217 batting average and .373 slugging percentage are both career lows. He was 0-for-his-last-14 before his second-inning home run Tuesday.
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Because of his poor performance and the fact he's still owed at least $60 million over the next three seasons, the Phillies have reportedly discussed releasing Howard. Manager Ryne Sandberg has kept him on the bench more in recent weeks, especially against facing left-handed starters.
The Phillies entered Wednesday at 50-63, in last place in the National League East.
- Ben Estes