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February 20, 2016

Mackanin not concerned that Howard, Franco aren't in camp yet

Updated following Saturday's workout: Ryan Howard has arrived to Bright House Field. He'll likely participate in voluntary workouts the next two days before the Phillies first official full-squad workout on Tuesday at the Carpenter Complex. 

From Saturday morning: 

On a quiet Saturday morning at Bright House Field, outfielder David Lough unpacked a bag at his locker stall, checking into camp for the first time. On either side of him were two untouched lockers, those of veteran infielders and middle-of-the-order cogs Ryan Howard and Maikel Franco.

Howard and Franco are among a very small group of position players who have not officially arrived in Clearwater yet (or at least have not been seen by the prying eyes of the media). They don’t have to be here, of course – position players aren’t required to report until Monday, a day before the team’s first full-squad workout of the spring.

Infielders Angelys Nina or Emmanuel Burris also haven’t checked into camp. But both are non-roster invitees. Relief pitcher Yoervis Medina isn’t here yet, either, as he’s having visa issues following his arrival in a trade earlier this month.

But non-roster players (as Nina and Burris are) and a guy like Medina are easy to miss for most observers. One wondered allowed if first-year manager Pete Mackanin had a problem that two of his most prominent players were missing in action.

Here is the exchange Friday afternoon between a reporter and Mackanin following the team’s second workout for pitchers and catchers in Clearwater:

As a guy that’s old school, would you like to see Franco and Howard here?

     "Yeah, I would. I know for a fact that Ryan Howard is hitting - working out and hitting," Mackanin said. "Sure I’d like to see him here. But it doesn’t bother me that he’s not here. The same thing with Franco. It is a very long season and I’m sure these guys have very good reasons why they’re not here. But, you know, some of these guys have been here for a month. And you can overdo it as well. Time off is important. So I don’t have any problems with it."

A few more points from a long-time observer of spring training:

• Any position players that have been working out at the team's facilities in Clearwater are doing so voluntarily. 

• Two or three days aren't going to make the difference in a player's preparedness. Chase Utley, maybe the (former) Phillies player best known for his work ethic in the last decade, wasn't always in camp when pitchers and catchers arrived, but did generally check in before he was officially required to report.

• For years, Ryan Howard has trained at the Athletes Compound at Saddlebrook Resort outside of Tampa. And he also owns a home in the area. Just because he physically hasn't been seen at the Carpenter Complex in the last five days doesn't mean he's not around and/or working out. And, as Mackanin said, that's exactly what he has been doing.

• Maikel Franco played in 21 games in the Dominican Winter league this offseason, so it's not as if he's been home on his couch eating Cheetos all winter. 

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21