Howard Heads to Court Today

Today’s the day for Ryan Howard, who is scheduled to face off against the Phillies at a salary arbitration hearing in St. Petersburg, Fla., that will determine his 2008 pay.The sides can settle on any figure before the hearing, and sources say the Phillies are more than willing to do so, but it appears Howard’s camp is prepared to take it to the hearing.

The Sides:

The Phillies have an undefeated record of 7-0 in arbitration hearings, with their last victory being a 2002 decision over Travis Lee.

Howard will have a great case for himself in this hearing.  The only other player in MLB history to hit that many homeruns in his first two seasons was Babe Ruth.  Howard’s camp will be led by his agent Casey Close. Howard, who has an MVP, Rookie of the Year and 129 homers in 410 career games on his resume, will miss todays workout and be present in the courtroom for the decision of his 2008 salary.

Todays arbitration hearing is expected to last at least four hours. A three-person panel of judges will hear the case, then  announce a decision onThursday.

Howard hasn’t been speaking publicly about his contract issues this spring, but did hint that what happens today could play a role in his long-term future in Philadelphia.

Asked if he’s hoping he’ll someday get a long-term contract from the Phillies, Howard said: “Ask me that Thursday. We’ll see what happens after that.”

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