Philly.comBut the thing that really jumped out at me was this passage, where Stark talks to Jimmy Rollins about Ryan Howard’s battle with an infection near his surgically-repaired Achilles. “I don’t know what to think, honestly,” Rollins tells Stark. “If you ask me, with this infection, I don’t know if he’s going to play this year, because after all the work that he’s done, now he’s got to hit the reset button.” Now, as Jayson points out, Rollins is not a doctor. But he is an athlete, as well as a friend of Howard’s, and the fact that even he hasn’t ruled out Howard missing the season should tell you something. It should be noted that Howard did a light work-out today. And he sounded optimstic during a chat with reporters, which you can read about here. “I mean, the leg is naturally going to atrophy if it’s in a boot all this time and you’re not getting the full use out of it,” Rollins continued. “So he’s built up strength, but it’s not like he was 100 percent [before]. Now he needs to take a step back, and he’s probably back down to the 25 to 40 percent range. . .” “And it’s a tough injury,” Rollins goes on. “It’s not like he’s 150 pounds. He’s a big man. And that’s a very important part of his game, being able to be on his legs. He doesn’t use his legs for speed like me. He uses his legs for power. So if he doesn’t have any [strength in his] legs, all that power just goes away. “Oh, he’s definitely out for two months. I can pretty much guarantee you that,” Rollins says. “And probably nothing before the All-Star break, unless it’s like Albert Pujols’ fracture [which magically healed itself in two weeks last summer].”

Jayson Stark has a really good article on ESPN about the Phillies infield struggles, but nothing hurts worse than to hear some doom and gloom shit from one of the players themselves. I mean tell us how you really feel, Jimmy. I know you’re mouthy and like to speak your mind, but maybe just shut the fuck up and not freak all of us out before the season even starts.

So let’s review: no Howard, no Chase, no Polanco, old JRoll…is this how we’re really gonna head into this season? It seems kind of unbelievable that all of this would happen right in the years we assemble one of the best pitching rotations possible, but after a 1-0 loss and exiting the first round last year with our star first baseman tearing his achilles to shit on the very last swing — I’m no longer able to be surprised.

Get well, Piece.