The Phillies could get some significant pop back in their lineup soon if Ryan Howard can return in the next month. (Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE)

Phillies' Ryan Howard Close to Beginning Rehab Assignment

Ryan Howard has been out since rupturing his Achilles tendon on October 7th of last year.  The team expected

him to miss the start of spring training.  They never expected him to miss this much time.  Howard has missed the Phillies first 75 games this season, and he is still at least a month away from a return to the Philadelphia lineup.

According to a press release from the team, the slugging first baseman will be receiving tests in Philadelphia.  If he passes those tests, he would report to Class A Lakewood.  The team still thinks Howard would need about 30 days or more before returning to the team.

Howard hit .253/.346/.488 with 33 home runs.  In his career, Howard has already hit 286 and has a line of .275/.368/.560.  Howard is a three-time All-Star and was the National League MVP in 2006.  The Phillies have missed him in their lineup as their already struggling offense only got worse without the power threat Howard provides.

The Phillies find themselves five games under .500 at the time of this article and struggling to make people believe they won’t be sellers at the trade deadline.  The team has spent a lot of money on winning, but it hasn’t worked this year.  A combination of injuries and underperforming players has doomed them from the start.

While Philadelphia will have to wait a while still for Howard’s return, Chase Utley could return as soon as next week.  The ailing second baseman has been battling knee injuries and fatigue since late last year.  With both players eventually back in the lineup, Philadelphia hopes they can improve on their middle-of-the-pack home run totals this season.

For more on the Phillies, be sure to check out That Ball’s Outta Here.  

Tags: Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard

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