The good news keeps rolling in on the injury front for the Phillies.
A day after Chase Utley’s triumphant return in which he homered and went 3-for-5, Ryan Howard will begin an official rehab assignment with low Single-A Lakewood. He will be the designated hitter.
With Howard beginning an official rehab, he will be back in a Phillies uniform no later than July 18, which is just after the All-Star Break.
Beautifully written by Bob Brookover:
Ryan Howard said he might not be 100 percent at any point this season.
He promised, however, to give 100 percent of 85 percent at all times when he returns to the Phillies lineup.
That is indeed better than what the Phillies have in their line up, with the exception of a red-hot Carlos Ruiz. It is also better than the five different players to play first base this season:
- Ty Wigginton (.249 AVG, 8 HR, 33 RBI)
- Hector Luna (.259, HR 2, RBI 10)
- John Mayberry Jr (.233, 6 HR, 23 RBI)
- Laynce Nix (.326, 2 HR, 11 RBI)
- Jim Thome (.246, 5 HR, 15 RBI)
For Howard, the problem won’t be his offense and his power.
“Yeah, my swing has been normal,” he said. “I haven’t toned anything back or tried to hold anything back from my swing. I’ve been able to get my legs in my swing. During the simulated games and whatever games I was playing in Clearwater, I was able to focus on finding my swing again and just getting my approach back and all of that stuff. There was no trying to hold anything back.”
Instead, Howard’s problem will be the running, the fielding and even the first step out of the batter’s box.
“Initially, the first couple of steps were always an issue,” he told reporters. “As of late, it’s gotten a lot better. It’s not going to be Olympic time-trial speed, and I know you guys are going to be real disappointed with that. But whatever I’ve got, I’m going to give. For all the fantasy people, I’m not going to be stealing bases this year. It saddens me, but hitting-wise, I’m fine.”
Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock described it as “awkward.”