Phillies' Ryan Howard plays 'disrespect' card, says he's an everyday player

Baseball Ryan Howard could be nearing his exit from Philadelphia, and he won't go quietly.The Phillies first baseman, amid an ongoing defamation lawsuit against Al Jazeera after a report by the network in December linked him to PED use, lashed out at the media during a news conference following Tuesday’s spring training workout and claimed he was disrespected last season. MORE: Howard among 's worst players of 2015“Last year was a tough year,” Howard said, via CSN Philly. “I wasn’t happy with the media. I was always happy with my team. I wasn’t happy with the media last year. “The way I felt with everything that I’ve done here in Philadelphia, I just felt I was being portrayed as something wors

e. To be honest with you guys, I felt like I was being portrayed as the bad guy. That’s why I didn’t talk to you all last year. I didn’t have a problem at all with my teammates.”Howard, 36, is preparing to enter the final season of a five-year, $125 million contract extension. His 12-year stint in Philadelphia has been mostly successful. The 2006 National League MVP and three-time All-Star helped the Phillies win five division titles and a World Series from 2007 through 2011.MORE: Ryan Zimmerman denies PED claims againHoward slugged a team-high 23 home runs and 77 RBIs last season, but the left-handed swinger hit just .130 against left-handers with 40 strikeouts and a .418 OPS. Overall, he batted .229 with a .277 OBP.Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said in the offseason that Howard needs to "hit better" against lefties and that Darin Ruf will get more at-bats. When asked Tuesday whether he deserved being more than a platoon player, Howard said he believes his history as a player says it all.“The track record speaks for itself,” he told reporters. “I’ve always been a guy that’s been a team player. And I’m always going to be a competitor. I always want to be able to go out there and it doesn’t matter righty or lefty, I know I can get the job done. I know all the talk over the past few years, this and that. I’m not going to focus on that. For me, it’s taking advantage of the opportunities when I get to go out there and play.”“Do I think it’s fair? Me, personally, probably not. But it is what it is. The situation is the situation. You just go out there and play.”