Ryan Howard placed on 15-day DL

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies placed first baseman Ryan Howard on the disabled list with left knee inflammation Saturday night and recalled Darin Ruf from their Triple-A Lehigh Valley affiliate.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Howard will undergo an MRI on Sunday or Monday, at which point the team will decide if surgery is a potential option.

Howard has been experiencing discomfort in the knee since early May, and received a cortisone shot last weekend. He looked awkward coming out of the batter's box in his final plate appearance in the Phillies' 5-4 win over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night, and was unable to take batting practice or groundballs before Saturday's game.

"It got to the point where we feel like it's time for him to get off of it, and we'll take care of it,'' Amaro said. "It's obviously at the point where he's just not able to play. The discomfort is just too great.

"We can't just think about the short-term. We have to think long-term with Ryan as well. I think we're going to be pretty conservative. If it needs surgery -- and hopefully it doesn't -- we'll take care of it. If it doesn't need surgery, we'll try to rehab him and get him back.''

Howard, in the second year of a five-year, $125 million contract extension, is hitting .266 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs this season. But he's fifth in the league with 95 strikeouts and is hitting .173 with 39 strikeouts in 81 at-bats against left-handers.

Ruf, 26, earned a September promotion to the big league club last year after hitting 38 homers for Double-A Reading. This year he was hitting .266 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Lehigh Valley. He's been a first baseman for most of his professional career, but has played primarily in left field this season.