Report: Howard's arbitration hearing set for Feb. 20

Ryan Howard's arbitration hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 20, the next-to-last day of the arbitration process, in St. Petersburg, Fla., the Philadelphia Daily News reported Friday.

Howard has asked for $10 million in 2008, while the Philadelphia Phillies have offered $7 million, the largest difference of any of the 48 players and teams who exchanged numbers this year.

The Phillies usually try to avoid going to arbitration, but general manager Pat Gillick said this week that he isn't worried Howard will have hard feelings if a deal can't be reached. Gillick also said the Phillies are willing to discuss a long-term deal with Casey Close, Howard's agent, the Daily News reported.

Howard led the major leagues in both home runs (105) and RBIs (285) the past two seasons.