CHICAGO -- While Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro was in the process of giving out good news ... how about Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jim Thome?
Good news all around.
After revealing that Vance Worleys elbow injury doesnt appear serious, Amaro shared some encouraging progress reports on the Phillies trio of injured players.
Amaro said Howard is now doing all baseball-related drills, hes just not doing them all-out yet.
Hes done well, Amaro said. Ryan has been fielding, throwing to all the bases, covering first, hitting -- hes doing some running now. Hes doing a lot of things. Hes basically doing everything. Hes not doing everything full-speed yet or 100 percent, but a lot of it right now is about getting his strength back in his calf. Hes done well. Hes progressing pretty good.
Utley, for the first time since re-joining the Phillies, fielded grounders during batting practice prior to Wednesday's game.
Amaro said prior speculation that Utleys knees are hurting since he hadnt started taking grounders until Wednesday isnt accurate.
Hes doing better, Amaro said before Utley's workout. I think hes feeling a little bit better. Well see. Were trying to make sure that when the time is right for him to take ground balls and to put that kind of stress on his legs hell do it.
And on Thome: Jimmys doing well. Hes taking BP, live BP on the field.
Phils trade minor-leaguers
The Phillies on Wednesday shipped 33-year-old career minor-leaguer Rich Thompson, whos been in their minor-league system for four years, to Tampa for minor-league outfielder Kyle Hudson.
Thompson was hitting .307 in 29 games for Lehigh Valley, where hes been a regular for most of the past four years. Thompson has played in 1,388 career minor-league games, hitting .280 with 1,390 hits.
Thompson hasnt played in the majors since 2004, when he played his only six major-league games with the Royals. He was immediately added to the Rays roster and in uniform for their game Wednesday night against the Red Sox.
Hudson, 25, hit .143 in 14 games with the Orioles last year. He was hitting .291 in 31 games with the Durham Bulls of the International League. Hes had as many as 41 stolen bases in a season in Triple-A.
Rich Thompson has been bouncing around the minor leagues for a long time, Amaro said. I do believe hes going to get an opportunity in Tampa.
One, we did it to give Thompson an opportunity, and, two, it gives us a younger guy with maybe a little more upside. No disrespect to Rich, but Rich is not a puppy. Hudson is a guy that Director of Player Development Joe Jordan and our scouts have had some familiarity with.
And as far as an athlete is concerned, a pretty good one. About seven or eight years younger than Rich. And a kid who can really fly. Hes a pretty good athlete, so well see what weve got.
Four-out save? Charlie says it could happen
With his middle relief in shambles, manager Charlie Manuel said he would consider bringing Jonathan Papelbon in on occasion in the eighth inning for a four- or even a five-out save.
I've really stayed away from that in the past, and it's always worked out good. We've had pretty good luck with that, if you look back.
Phillies pitchers have earned 20 saves of more than three outs in Manuels eight years here. But five of those were three-inning saves by middle relievers. Of the 15 others, Billy Wagner is responsible for six in 2005. Over the past three seasons, the Phils have only had two saves longer than three outs -- one by Ryan Madson in 2010 and one by Antonio Bastardo last year.
Papelbon had 31 saves of at least four outs during his seven years with the Red Sox. Since he came into the league, only Mariano Rivera has more (43).
You can say whatever you want to say, Manuel said. Will I do it? I'm not saying I won't do it tonight. I don't know. There's a whole lot of things I say I won't do that I do. I don't know. I'm not saying I won't do it. The other night I was thinking about doing it.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org