WHATEVER’S WRONG WITH SPENCER HOWARD TO BE FIXED IN MINORS!

By Sam Bush

The Phillies have optioned pitcher Spencer Howard to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and second baseman Jean Segura, who was activated from the 10-day injured list.

Howard will continue to start with Lehigh Valley, where he will focus on building to 100 pitches and learning to pound the strike zone with his offspeed pitches.

It sounds like an investment in 2022, more than ‘21, considering Howard is on a strict — albeit unknown — inning limit this season.

“I would say so, yeah,” Howard said at Citizens Bank Park. “I think, long run, it’ll be for the better — no timeline or anything. They just said, ‘We see you as a starter and to essentially build as one.’”

Howard was 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA in nine appearances (five starts) this season. He started Monday night in Cincinnati, but he lasted only 2 1/3 innings. Howard has dominated hitters his first time through the lineup, holding them to a .103 batting average and a .350 OPS. But those numbers skyrocket to a .353 average and a 1.344 OPS the second time through.

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