Howard on blister: 'I don't think it's a big deal'

August 15th, 2020

PHILADELPHIA -- hoped for better in his second big league start, but it lasted shorter than his first.

Howard left the Phillies' 6-5 win over the Mets in the fourth inning Friday because of a blister underneath the nail on his right middle finger. He said he does not think it is serious and he expects to make his next turn in the rotation.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m planning for,” Howard said. “The trainers don’t think it’s a big deal. I don’t think it’s a big deal either. It’s probably just more preventative than anything.”

Because the Phillies do not play Monday, they could push Howard back an extra day or two if needed.

Howard got Brandon Nimmo to pop up on the infield for the first out in the fourth inning, and then Phillies manager Joe Girardi and assistant athletic trainer Shawn Fcasni visited him on the mound. After a brief discussion, Howard left the game.

Howard is the No. 36 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. He made his big league debut Sunday afternoon against the Braves, allowing four runs in 4 2/3 innings. He said then that he lacked sharpness because he had not faced live batters in more than a week. It is why he expected to pitch better Friday.

But Howard allowed seven hits, four runs (three earned), two walks and struck out two in 3 1/3 innings. Poor defense led to a run in the first and a run in the second. Howard allowed back-to-back home runs to Dominic Smith and Robinson Canó in the third inning. He left a changeup in the zone to Smith and a curveball up in the zone to Canó. Howard refused to blame the home runs on the blister.

“It was just missed location,” Howard said.

Maybe Howard will have better luck his third turn through the rotation.

“Obviously, you’re not always going to be perfect and you’re not always going to have ideal situations,” Howard said. “It’s about just managing expectations for myself and trying to take little lessons where I can get them.”