CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- This year already is going a lot better for Ryan Howard than 2012 did.
Howard hit his first home run of spring training, an opposite-field drive to left off All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel that helped the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 10-5 Thursday.
Howard put the Phillies ahead with an RBI double in the first against loser Paul Maholm.
He didn't play until July last year while recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon sustained in the Phillies' final game of the 2011 playoffs. Howard has started all six of Philadelphia's exhibition games this year and is 8 for 15 (.533) with three doubles and a homer.
"He was totally relaxed and stayed on the ball, went with it," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said of the home run. "The ball was out away from him and he just stayed on it, went with it."
Every position player in the Phillies' starting lineup had a hit except for Jimmy Rollins. Howard, Chase Utley, Ben Revere and Darin Ruf all went 2 for 3, and John Mayberry Jr. homered against Cristhian Mart
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