MIAMI -- Ryan Howard will be with his Phillies teammates for the final four games of the season starting Thursday in Atlanta.
Howard has been on the disabled list since July 5. He had season-ending knee surgery to repair a cartilage issue shortly after that. The first baseman has spent most of his time rehabbing in Florida. Much of his work has been centered on getting into better physical shape. His leg injuries in recent seasons have prevented him from getting into top physical condition. New manager Ryne Sandberg has pulled no punches saying he wants Howard in top shape next season. He also wants Howard more prepared for games (see story). Sandberg will be able to deliver this message in person in Atlanta.
Howard has been playing in games in the Florida Instructional League. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. says Howard has dropped weight and is feeling good.
Howard will go through full workouts before the four games in Atlanta. He will do defensive work and take batting practice.
Sandberg is eager to get a look at Howard.
“Things have gone well in Florida,” he said. “This is something that he wanted to do and the organization is all for it.
“I’ve only seen him take some swings on video, so it will be good to see him actually take batting practice and ground balls and run the bases in Atlanta. It’ll be a good thing to see him for four days and be able to have a pretty good gauge on him.”
Ben Revere, recovering from a broken ankle, will finish up in the Florida Instructional League this week and head home. He will be ready for spring training.