Veteran 1B Howard signs Minor League deal

Veteran 1B Howard signs Minor League deal

MIAMI -- The Rockies announced Saturday they signed veteran first baseman Ryan Howard to a Minor League contract. He will report to Triple-A Albuquerque.

The 37-year-old Howard last played in the Major Leagues with the Phillies in 2016, when he hit .196 with 25 homers and 59 RBIs in 112 games.

A National League Most Valuble Player Award winner in 2006 and a three-time All-Star, Howard signed with the Braves in April before being released on May 8. In 11 games at Triple-A Gwinnett, he hit .184 with one homer and 11 strikeouts in 38 at-bats.

Howard became a free agent last November when the Phillies declined his 2017 club option for $23 million and instead bought him out for $10 million.

If Howard can prove there's more left in the tank, he could possibly find a spot with the Rockies when rosters expand in September.

Colorado currently has Mark Reynolds at first base, along with recently called up prospect Ryan McMahon. Ian Desmond is working his way back from a calf strain.

In 13 seasons with Philadelphia, Howard smacked 382 home runs and slashed .258/.343./.515. The once-prodigious slugger hasn't hit 30 homers or knocked in 100 RBIs in a season since 2011, when he tallied 33 and 116. He and the Phillies won the World Series in '08.

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.