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Howard suffers setback

Associated Press / February 26, 2012
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Injured Phillies star Ryan Howard has left Philadelphia’s spring training camp in Clearwater, Fla., for a few days to visit the doctor who did the surgery on his torn left Achilles’ tendon.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel called it “a little setback.’’ General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said it was a “routine checkup.’’

Howard is going to Baltimore to see Mark Myerson, who did the operation after the All-Star first baseman injured himself on the final swing of the National League playoffs against St. Louis.

Howard is likely to return to camp Wednesday. He has been taking batting practice and doing light fielding drills and jogging. It’s still uncertain whether Howard will be ready for Opening Day.

Zumaya hurt again

Joel Zumaya wanted to show the Twins he was OK this spring, hoping to bring the kind of heat that made him so promising before a long list of injuries derailed his career. But his latest comeback attempt took a worrisome turn yesterday.

A few minutes after he started throwing to hitters for the first time this spring, Zumaya walked off the mound in Fort Myers, Fla., in a mixture of pain and frustration.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan said the reliever injured the inside of his elbow and will have an MRI today.

Zumaya has not pitched since he broke his right elbow while throwing a pitch for the Tigers on June 28, 2010.

Minnesota signed Zumaya to an incentive-loaded, one-year deal with an $850,000 base salary.

Braun back to work

His 50-game suspension and months of anxiety lifted from his shoulders, Ryan Braun took batting practice, shagged fly balls, and ran the bases like a little kid at the Brewers’ first full-squad workout in Phoenix. “It was a lot of fun,’’ said the National League Most Valuable Player. “I had a lot of fun today, just being around my teammates and being on the baseball field and getting to play baseball was nice.’’ One day after he vehemently defended his innocence in the aftermath of his overturned suspension for a positive drug test, Braun was able to put the turmoil behind him.

Return to Oz

Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith suited up with the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., as a spring training instructor for the first time, saying it was nice to breathe “good baseball air.’’ A rift with former manager Tony La Russa over the way Smith’s playing career ended led to a lengthy estrangement following Smith’s retirement in 1996. But he has been welcomed back into the fold by new manager Mike Matheny. “It was an iron curtain, but you know what, it’s behind us now,’’ Smith said . . . A’s infielder Scott Sizemore sprained his left knee during fielding drills.

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