Last week, I wondered in this forum why Ryan Howard was hitting 7th for the Phillies. The Philadelphia Daily News’ John Smallwood poses a similiar question to the man himself, who hit a pair of bombs yesterday against the Marlins.

When asked where he would place himself in the batting order if he were the manager, Howard said, “I wouldn’t be playing, so I wouldn’t be in there.”

Well, how about if he were back in the old days when baseball still had player-managers?

“I’d probably be somewhere between three and five,” Howard said. “If I were managing and playing.”

OK, now the biggie.

What if you are what you are – the reigning National League Rookie of the Year, a guy touted as having all kinds of home-run and RBI potential?

Would you put yourself in the sixth spot, as Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has done for most of the season, or somewhere else?

“Like I’ve been saying, I just show up, and wherever I am is where I am,” said Howard, who smashed two home runs in a 4-2 victory over the Florida Marlins yesterday, including one estimated by the Phillies to have traveled a Citizens Bank Park-record 496 feet. “You never know who is going to be pitching that day.

“That’s [Manuel’s] call. I show up and just play wherever I am.”

Perhaps it was just coincidence that yesterday, with Burrell having a day off, Howard batted fifth for the first time this season and came up with the first multihomer game of his major league career.

Wouldn’t it be prudent to see if Howard’s two massive home runs could be connected to his batting higher in the order?

“When I fill out the lineup card [tonight], I might leave [Howard] where he is because he hit two jacks,” Charlie Manuel said.

“Look, I like to make my lineup cards out myself.

“If I need help, that’s bad. That’s not good. I don’t think that’s good. I’d like to be able to set our lineup, but right now, I haven’t come up with one set lineup yet.