The big news around the Phillies on Wednesday was that Tommy Joseph was going to get a chance to take Ryan Howard’s job (see story).
Joseph got the exciting news from someone who wasn’t all that excited to get it in the first place.
That’s right, Howard was the one who informed Joseph of the opportunity that was awaiting him.
“Ryan came up to me in the [batting] cage and filled me in on what the plan was,” Joseph said Wednesday night. “It meant a lot to me. He didn’t have to do that.
“He came up to me and told me I was going to play the next three or four days. He filled me in on what (Washington pitcher Max) Scherzer likes to do out there and then told me to go kick some butt.
“He’s been great. He’s done so much for this team and the city. That’s something he didn’t have to do. For a guy like him to come up to me and tell me that, it means a lot.”
Howard also showed grace when he got the news in a meeting with manager Pete Mackanin earlier in the day. He continued to show it when he spoke with reporters. The struggling slugger made a point to say he was conceding nothing, but he was genuinely supportive of Joseph.
If Joseph produces, he could push Howard deeper onto the bench. He was hitless against Scherzer on Wednesday night, but as Mackanin said, “That’s a pretty good pitcher.” Joseph did line out hard to left field in the sixth inning (see game recap).
Mackanin made a point to say he likes Joseph’s approach at the plate. He is eager to see more of the 24-year-old first baseman.
Though Joseph has waited for this chance for a long time and cleared many hurdles to get to the majors — he suffered four concussions that forced him to give up the catching position in the minors — he said he won’t press in his audition for more playing time at first base.
“I’m going to treat it like every other day, show up ready to be in the lineup,” he said. “You can only do so much. You can only get one hit in one at-bat. I’m excited about the opportunity. But I’m going to treat it like any other day.”