Philadelphia Phillies' Ryan Howard hits two home runs against Tampa Bay Rays

CLEARWATER — Ryan Howard is ready to break camp.

The first baseman hit two solo homers off Rays RHP Matt Garza in the Phillies' 4-3 win on Tuesday. "I'm pretty anxious to get up north and get things started," Howard said.

The All-Star slugger is batting .356 with three homers and eight RBIs in 16 spring games.

"I put a couple of good swings on the ball," Howard said. "That's what you work for all spring training, you just take things in stride and try to peak at the right time going into the season."

PROGRESS REPORT: Phillies LH reliever J.C. Romero (left elbow surgery) threw 30 pitches in a simulated game. He hopes to join the team in mid April.

Yanks: Ex-Ray Gaudin placed on waivers

TAMPA — The Yankees placed former Rays RHP Chad Gaudin on waivers, eliminating one candidate for the fifth starter's job.

Gaudin, who turns 27 today, was 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 appearances, including six starts, with New York last season after being acquired from the Padres. He had allowed nine runs on 16 hits in 91/3 innings this spring.

Gaudin signed a one-year, $2.95 million deal in the offseason. If he clears waivers, he could still be sent to the minors.

FEDS, A-ROD TO MEET: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to meet Friday with federal investigators probing a Canadian physician, the Associated Press reported. The feds are investigating whether Dr. Anthony Galea distributed performance-enhancing drugs in the United States and consider Rodriguez a potential witness. He is not suspected of having been given PEDs by Galea.

Jays: Missing out on honor no problem

DUNEDIN — The Blue Jays gave RHP Shaun Marcum the opening-day assignment, and LHP Ricky Romero couldn't be happier.

Romero was a favorite to start the opener after a solid rookie season, but he said he was thrilled for his teammate, who hasn't pitched in a regular-season game since 2008.

"If there's one guy that deserved it, it was definitely him," Romero said. "It's been a long road back and he's shown that he's ready, which is good. I'm excited for him. I've told you guys all along, I'm excited to be a part of the team. I can be the fifth guy for all I care. All I want to do is win, and that's all I'm focused on."

fast facts

Yankees

Where: George Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa. Today: vs. Nationals, 7:05, Tampa. Information: yankees.com

Phillies

Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Today: at Braves, 1:05, Lake Buena Vista, ESPN. Information: phillies.com

Blue Jays

Where: Dunedin Stadium,

373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Today: at Rays, 1:05, Port Charlotte. Information: bluejays.com

Philadelphia Phillies' Ryan Howard hits two home runs against Tampa Bay Rays 03/23/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 8:29pm]

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