By Annie Ross

Ryan Howard is trying to have a positive impact during this, undoubtedly his last season with the Phillies.

He was one of a couple of players to speak up in the team’s regular pre-series hitters’ meeting before Tuesday’s opener against the Minnesota Twins.

The Phils had lost seven in a row and scored just nine runs in those games. Howard sensed the team was pressing. So he spoke up. So did Carlos Ruiz, the team’s other holdover from the 2008 World Series championship club.

Though the Phillies won just one of three games against the Twins, the struggling offense produced 38 hits, including eight homers, and 22 runs in the series. Howard, who served as the designated hitter in the series, belted his 11th homer in yesterday’s series finale, a 7-3 Phillies’ win.

Freddy Galvis, who had a career-high five RBIs on Thursday, said there were no maybes about it. The words that Howard and Ruiz spoke resonated with the group.

“We’re young guys,” Galvis said. “Everybody wants to stay in the big leagues. Nobody wants to go back. Sometimes you put too much pressure on yourself, instead of just having fun and playing baseball and just letting it happen. That’s what they talked about.

“It helped a lot, especially when you get some advice from guys like Chooch and Howie. They say, ‘Hey, don’t worry, it’s going to happen. We’ve been through hard times too and sooner or later it’s going to turn around.’”