OK, heres the good news:
Ryan Howard is getting better. He can jump rope a bit and has been playing catch and fielding grounders. More importantly, the surgical wound where his Achilles was repaired and subsequently became infected, is improving as well.
Hes doing more than he was a week ago, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
But Howards wound is not yet 100 percent. Given that the wound is the key to determining when the Phillies top slugger will return to the lineup, it cant get better fast enough for the Phillies.
He saw Dr. Myerson Tuesday and his Achilles is doing great. His strength is increasing and the wound is improved. Thats the priority right now getting the wound healed, Amaro said. Were going to talk with the wound specialist at Jefferson and the folks who have been treating it and well know more Thursday about how its doing and what his next progressions are.
Without Howard at the start of the season, the Phillies are 1-3, have scored eight runs and are batting .198. The Phillies are 1-3 even though the team ERA is 2.48 through the first four games.
Needless to say, the Phillies need Howard to provide some power in the lineup. For now, though, the Phillies are just waiting for the big fella to heal up.
The wound was pretty deep and I didnt have a great grasp on it, Amaro explained. The wound was so deep you could stick your finger in it. Thats how deep the wound was. The wound heals from in to out so its taken time because its a significant wound.
Otherwise, Howards surgically repaired Achilles is getting stronger. In fact, Amaro reasons that the infection and wound have helped the strengthening of the tendon.
The tendon is in great shape, the GM said. Its intact and getting better and better.
Utley improving, tooWhile Howard is just waiting on the healing process, second baseman Chase Utley is making progress in his rehab in Arizona, too, according to Amaro.
Utley left the team to continue his recovery from chondromalacia in his knee with his physical therapist in Arizona. He is expected to hook up with the team when they begin an 11-game road trip through San Francisco, San Diego and Arizona starting Monday.
Whether Utley remains with the team or stays behind to continue his rehab in Arizona has not yet been decided.
His strength is getting better, too. That was something he wasnt able to work on when he was kind of in the discomfort mode, Amaro said about Utley. His strength is better, hes becoming more stable and hes progressing and well know more about it when we see him on the west coast.
E-mail John R. Finger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OK, heres the good news: