During last year's National League Division Series game Howard's Achilles tendon popped when he made the final out of the game. This year's injury is not as serious, but caps off a weird season.
The injury occurred while he was on deck at his final at bat for the season at Citizen Bank Park when he dropped the heavy, iron warm-up pipe he uses on his foot. "I was on the on-deck circle about to go up to hit and Chase Utley had just hit the ball. I was watching where he was going and just let the pipe go, and it landed flush on my toe. It hurt," recalled Howard.
Charlie Manuel gave him the day off, but Howard ended up pinch hitting in the ninth inning and striking out. After the game his toe was X-rayed and the fracture was discovered.
He missed 84 games this season because of reconstructive surgery on his Achilles tendon, hitting .219 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs, but just 28 runs scored and 99 strikeouts in 292 appearances.
Howard believes the toe shouldn't interfere with the offseason, perhaps the most important one of his career. "I view it as an opportunity to start over, to really get back in the swing of things with my normal routine. I look forward to it. I look forward to having a little more time to decompress because this was a crazy year, a crazy season. I'll reflect on it a little bit, and move forward.
"I think as far as average, where I think a lot of people get caught up in that... I'm a better hitter than that. But I think for being able to come in and do the best that I could and contribute, to still get 56 RBIs and 14 home runs, considering everything that has gone on and not have a spring training to get ready for the season... I look at that as a positive."
Howard has a wedding planned in December and believes he can get past the physical woes that have plagued him this past year. His awkward gait may be caused by his leg atrophy and may have also led to back issues.
"The plan is that I'd like to have an active rest period, where it's more pool-based workouts, some cardio stuff. It's a lot easier on the joints, getting my back adjusted and aligned with some chiropractor stuff. Then ramp up the weightlifting after the first of the year. So, October, I'll take a week or two to rest, then start the active rest period with my diet and the stuff I was talking about."
What did Howard learn from 2012?
"Don't get hurt."
As we know, that's often easier said than done.
If you are a baseball player suffering from a foot injury, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT
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