Could Howard Return This Weekend?
It sure sounds like it.
“I guess it’s possible,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said this afternoon at Citi Field. “But we’ll see how he feels the next day or so.”
Howard has played six games in rehab assignments with Class A Lakewood and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is hitting a combined .471 (8-for-17) with two doubles, one home run, nine RBIs, three walks and three strikeouts. The Phillies needed Chase Utley to play back-to-back games at second base before they considered activating him from the DL, but Howard might be different, although he is scheduled to play back-to-back games at first base tonight and tomorrow night with Lehigh Valley.
“He’s been progressing pretty good,” Amaro said. “We’ll see how he feels after tonight.”
Amaro said Howard is running fairly well, although “he’s had a tiny hitch in his giddy-up I guess, but when he’s running full speed he looks pretty smooth.”
It sounds like Howard thinks he’s ready to rejoin the Phillies.
“I think he thinks he’s ready,” Amaro said. “But we’ll see. We’re still talking with the docs and have people evaluating him every day. … If he plays this weekend (for the Phillies), it may not be the worst thing for him to get some time off. You just don’t know how he’ll react and what kind of adrenaline there will be. We’ll take it one day at a time with him.”
Reading between the lines we can make the following assumption: If Howard isn’t back this weekend, he should be back for the July 13-15 series against the Rockies immediately following the break. But both Amaro and Charlie Manuel said Howard will be evaluated after tonight’s game at Lehigh Valley. That makes you think they could give him the green light and activate him for tomorrow night’s game against the Braves.