As Utley leaves, Howard left with fond memories
First baseman joins Ruiz as only remaining members of '08 championship team
PHILADELPHIA -- The next time Ryan Howard sets foot in the Phillies' clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, the nameplate above Chase Utley's locker will be removed.
The contents have already been packed.
"And then there were two," Howard said following Wednesday night's 7-4 victory over the Blue Jays.
Howard and Carlos Ruiz are the only two holdovers from the 2008 World Series championship team after the Phillies and Dodgers announced the trade that sent Utley to Los Angeles for a pair of Minor League prospects.
"It's crazy," Howard said. "All the things we've been able to do here. He's been here ever since I first got called up to the big leagues. Yeah, it's going to be different looking over here and not seeing him here and everything.
"All things come to an end. We had a great run. Things are definitely changing.
It is hard to believe, but just four years ago the Phillies won a franchise-record 102 games. They looked like they could win forever. But now the rebuilding effort is in full swing. Since December, the Phillies have traded Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Ben Revere, Marlon Byrd, Jake Diekman and Antonio Bastardo.
"You remember when you first walked in and you were a rookie," Howard said. "And then the next thing you know you're the veteran guy on the team and you've got change taking place. It's definitely different. And it's definitely kind of a weird feeling."