6/18/2014 5:20 P.M. ET
Trips to Atlanta bring out best in Howard
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Ryan Howard will hate to see the Braves leave Turner Field following the 2016 season.
He hits well here.
"I always love coming to Atlanta," Howard said following Wednesday's 10-5 victory over the Braves. "It's a nice city. Good people."
Howard went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs on Wednesday, and he hit .385 (5-for-13) with two home runs and six RBIs in Philadelphia's three-game sweep. In his career, Howard is hitting .283 with 20 home runs, 71 RBIs and a .937 on-base plus slugging percentage in 72 games at Turner Field.
"I just was able to put some stuff together," Howard said. "I'll try to carry it over now."
The Phillies will begin a four-game series on Thursday in St. Louis, where Howard hits even better. He has hit .368 with nine home runs, 35 RBIs and a 1.207 OPS in 26 career games at Busch Stadium. It will be Howard's first games at Busch since 2011 due to a left Achilles injury in 2012 and a left knee injury last season.
Howard grew up just outside St. Louis, so it is home.
"I hadn't been there the last couple of seasons, so it's going to be fun to go home and see friends, that whole spiel, and play at Busch Stadium," Howard said.
Said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg: "It's good to see him swinging the bat here, and hopefully, that'll continue in St. Louis."
Pettibone undergoes right shoulder surgery
ATLANTA -- Right-hander Jonathan Pettibone stabilized the Phillies' rotation last season with 18 starts.
Pettibone, however, has since been hindered by right shoulder problems, which culminated on Tuesday with surgery.
Orthopedist James Andrews performed repair of Pettibone's Type II SLAP (Superior Labral Antero-Posterior) tear, the most common kind, featuring a complete tear of the labrum.
The Phillies are hopeful Pettibone can be ready to pitch by Spring Training 2015.
Fighting leg injury, Nieves hopes to avoid DL
ATLANTA -- The Phillies might have lost some catching depth in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 10-5 win over the Braves at Turner Field.
Backup catcher Wil Nieves pulled up lame while running to second base on a one-out double to right-center field. Nieves said afterward that he felt a pop in his right quadriceps.
"They said it was mild, and usually I'm a quick healer, so hopefully that's the case," Nieves said.
Nieves said he hopes to avoid a stint on the 15-day disabled list. The Phillies will know more on Thursday in St. Louis.
"Feeling the hamstring cramping, I think it's just hydration," Nieves said. "I'll drink some water and get a couple of anti-inflammatories, and hopefully it'll be fine."
Nieves is hitting .259 with five doubles, one home run and four RBIs in 14 games, with Carlos Ruiz on pace to start a career-high 130 games. Ruiz, 35, has never started more than 113 games behind the plate, having spent each of the previous five seasons on the disabled list.
If Nieves is placed on the DL, Cameron Rupp and Tommy Joseph are the only other catchers on the Phillies' 40-man roster. Rupp is likely to be promoted in that case; he impressed in four games late last season, but he is hitting just .154 with a .635 OPS in 125 plate appearances with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Joseph has missed much of the last two seasons because of injuries. He has not played since May 9 because of a left wrist injury.
• Sandberg said that left-hander Cliff Lee felt fine on Thursday after throwing 20 pitches in a bullpen session on Wednesday. Lee could throw another session before the end of the weekend in St. Louis.
• Third baseman Cody Asche, who is on the DL with a strained left hamstring, could be activated as early as Thursday. Asche was hitting .317 with five doubles, three home runs, 12 RBIs and a .956 OPS in 69 plate appearances in May before sustaining the injury.
• Outfielder Ben Revere did not start a second consecutive game after jamming his left knee into the center-field wall on Monday, although he pinch-hit in the eighth inning on Wednesday.
"We'll check him out tomorrow and see," Sandberg said. "It was a good sign, getting him in the game as a pinch-hitter."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.