Blog Entry

Utley, Howard could return early next week

Posted on: August 13, 2010 6:09 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2010 6:14 pm
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NEW YORK -- The Phillies may finally be getting healthy.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard could both be back next week, which would allow the Phillies to field their full opening day lineup for the first time since May 21. While the Phillies haven't set a date for the return of either of their stars, there seems to be at least an outside chance that both could return during a home series with the Giants that starts Tuesday night.

Utley left Friday for Florida, where he'll continue to work his way back from a torn ligament in his right thumb. Utley got a good report from the doctor this week, and before leaving he told some teammates that he intends to return to the lineup Tuesday. The Phillies originally projected that it would take eight weeks for Utley to return. As of Monday, he will have been out seven weeks.

Howard, out with a sprained ankle, hasn't played since Aug. 1. He has remained with the team, and took batting practice and ground balls before the Phillies' game with the Mets Friday night. Howard is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday, and while it's not certain he'll be back that day, he shouldn't need much longer than that.

With Utley and Howard coming back, the Phillies could be healthier down the stretch than the Braves, who lost Chipper Jones to a season-ending knee injury.

"It's a loss," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said, when asked about Jones. "But I picked [Braves utility man Omar] Infante for the All-Star Game, didn't I? We'll see how smart I am."





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