Ryan Howard Signs Minor League Contract with Atlanta Braves

Howard has the second-most home runs in Phillies history

Ryan Howard went an entire offseason and spring training without a contract, and the chances of him playing another major league game were slim.

Like fellow teammate Jimmy Rollins Phillies fans thought they had seen the last of Howard, but an opportunity to resume his career has presented himself.

According to Mark Bowen Howard will sign a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves and report to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Atlanta has certainly seen the best of Howard throughout his 13 seasons in Philadelphia. The 37-year-old has 52 career home runs against the Braves, who move into a new ballpark this season.

Freddie Freeman has the first base position solidified in Atlanta, so how Howard fits into the Major League roster remains unclear. While still considered a rebuilding franchise, the Braves have been aggressively adding veterans to their Major League roster through trades and free agency.

Howard, 37, would be the oldest hitter on the Braves roster, and the third oldest player behind Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey.

How long Atlanta choses to keep Howard in Triple-A is unclear, but the slugger could have an opportunity to return to Philadelphia in a Braves uniform. The club visits Philadelphia on April 21-23, then return for a four game series at the trade deadline in July.

Howard is second on the Phillies all-time home runs list with 382, and has played all 1,572 games with Philadelphia.