Phillies bench Ryan Howard for Tommy Joseph

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Ryan Howard has been benched for the next few games. (WPVI)

Ryan Howard is out. Tommy Joseph is in.

At least for the next few games, as Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin is going with Joseph in the lineup.

"I don't think anybody wants to answer questions like this," Howard told a group of reporters Wednesday afternoon.

However, Howard along with Mackanin fielded question after question about his future and the Phils.

"We wanted Joseph up here not to stagnate and I need to get him in even against right-handed pitchers, and I told Howard, I'm going to give him three to four days off to clear his head, start all over from scratch after that period of time, and get a good look at Tommy Joseph and see what he's capable of stringing together," Mackanin said.

Mackanin informed Howard of the news hours before the Phils were to meet the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

"He was great. We had a great conversation. Of course, he's not happy with it. He was very mature about the whole thing. He gets it. He knows what we're trying to do and he just wants to continue to have opportunities," Mackanin said.

Howard confirms he was not happy, but says who would be?

"If you're happy with the news than why are you playing?" Howard said. "We're all competitors here and if you don't want to be out here to play, if you're going to be happy about something like that than you might as well just pack it up and go home."

As for taking the days to clear his head, as Mackanin put it, Howard says no need.

"My head is fine. It's one of those things. I get it. You got to go out, you got to perform. You got to put up. Tommy's going to get to go out there and go play. I'm going to be out there and support Tommy and support the rest of my teammates," Howard said.

Howard is currently batting .157 with twice as many strikeouts as base hits, 52 strikeouts. His .097 batting average in May is the third lowest in history since 1913.

"I've been playing this game since second grade, you see and you understand a lot of stuff, just over the course, not just playing professional baseball, but baseball period, because you go through different things. I went through different things in high school, and you try to take those lessons and translate them out to everyday life. As far as something like that is concerned, you understand what the situation is, the only thing I can do is to continue to try to work, fix it, next opportunity I get, go out there and bat," Howard said.

Though he won't be at bat, that doesn't mean The Big Piece is ready to hang up the cleats.

"No, I'm not going to quit. That's not in the vocabulary. It's easy. That's the easiest thing to do is quit and give up when things are hard. You really see what you're made of when those things are not going the way you want them to go," Howard said.

When asked what he will do over these next few days where he won't be in the lineup, Howard had one idea for the reporters.

"Maybe I'll come hang out with you guys," he joked.

Howard then expressed his true plans.

"Put May behind me and try to have a good June," Howard said.
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