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cbsAccording to Amaro, Howard is on his way to the first part of his “if.” “Ryan Howard is at one hundred percent, finally. It’s the first time he’s actually felt normal. He’s down there at Clearwater hitting and working out. The reports on our guys is that, health wise, are doing,knock wood, are doing very well and that’s going to be a key element for us,” Amaro told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Friday. Howard has played in only 151 games combined in the last two seasons, due to various ailments. Amaro also gave a positive update about the player who, if healthy, will be Jonathan Papelbon’s set-up man. “I got very good news about [Mike] Adams over the last couple of weeks. He’s throwing well, that’s important. Is he going to be ready for the season and is he going to stay healthy? I don’t know that, but he’s doing very well,” Amaro said. Amaro has said repeatedly that he believes the Phillies have the talent to compete for a championship. He didn’t back off that claim.

I’ve wondered a few times what it’s been like to be a Phillies public relations guy this winter. The phone rings and it’s Amaro on the other end. “We just inked Bobby Abreu and that drunk dude from the Giants who got arrested after he stroked a girl’s tits in a Vegas E.R. Just go ahead and dial up a press release.” What do you even do with that? Not even the most dedicated employee can take that call with a straight face and not turn around to someone in a nearby cubicle and say, “Is this guy fucking serious?”

Amaro himself came on 94 WIP this morning and tried to do a little PR spin of his own, explaining, without audibly laughing, that the team was talented enough to score 650-700 runs and compete for a championship. He also noted that Ryan Howard is finally 100 percent healthy nearly two years after he said Ryan Howard was healthy leading up the 2012 season .

Here’s the problem with the Phillies. Could they potentially surprise some people and be competitive this season? Sure. The problem is that it depends on about seven different variables all working out in their favor.

If Ryan Howard hits 35 home runs…If Chase Utley plays 130+ games…If Carlos Ruiz looks like the 2012 version and not the 2013 one…If that Cuban guy who we know nothing about and hasn’t pitched in two years can be productive…

Their season is like a seven-team parlay, but not one of those good NFL ones that you’ve thought about for a few hours, researched, and can almost kid yourself into thinking might work. It’s like the kind of one when you get your balls beat in on four brutal losses, you’re down a grand , can’t afford to pay the bookie and really don’t want to take out another cash advance on your Capital One card, so you start taking the only games left on the board kind of parlay. I’m talking under 5.5 goals in the Canucks game, Warriors -3.5 in the first half, the Cal State Poly first half over, and the Bobcats getting 9.5 type of shit. The whole thing is completely fucked, everyone knows it, and no amount of PR will change that.