Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro refuted reports on Friday that team officials are considering releasing slumping slugger Ryan Howard.

Earlier this week, reports indicated that the Phillies had discussed internally the possibility of releasing Howard and eating the more than $60 million that remain on his contract.

But on Wednesday, Amaro claimed those reports were false.

He also said the team's focus is helping Howard getting back to being a productive player.

Howard has been benched for three straight games.  Instead, Phillies Manager Ryne Sandberg has played Darin Ruf at first base.