Joe Girardi explains what shortened season will mean for Spencer Howard

Spencer Howard is one of the Phillies top prospects. (Steven Kiebach)

Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi talked about top pitching prospect Spencer Howard on Thursday, but did not give a definitive answer on whether he could make the opening day roster in a shortened season.

When asked by Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic about Howard’s chances of making a potential 29-man roster when baseball’s hiatus is over, Girardi said that it would depend on the 23-year-old’s progress.

“I really don’t know,” Girardi said. “I think that’s more of a developmental question — where a player is at at the time.”

Howard, one of the most talented players in the Phillies system, had a 2.03 ERA in the regular minor-league season last year. He was extremely effective when he did pitch, but a shoulder injury limited him to just 99 1/3 innings in 2019.

His injury and limited workload had forced the Phillies to be cautious with the right-hander in spring training. Howard looks to be capable of making an impact at the major-league level at some point this season, assuming there is one. In order to make sure that happens, the Phillies need to assure that he is not overworked, but also ready to pitch late into the season.

Girardi noted that Howard still has work to do before he is ready for the majors, but the suspension of baseball may be hindering that.

“[Howard is] not being able to sharpen his skills right now, just like everybody else because of the situation we’re in,” he said.

The manager still did not completely rule out the possibility of Howard making the roster out of the gate in his interview with Missanelli.

“I think you have to be open about every idea that’s out there, because it’s a different situation than we’ve ever experienced before,” Girardi said. “And you’ll look at everything.”


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