Ryan Howard Progressing
Ryan Howard is expected to intensify his workouts this week to include hitting, running and weight training.
Howard is at the Phillies' spring training complex in Clearwater, Florida and appears to be progressing nicely. The 32-year-old slugger could be ready to join the Phillies in late May or early June if he can avoid any setbacks.
The Phillies are short on offense with both Chase Utley and Howard hurt. Ty Wigginton has gotten most of the time at first base with Howard out of the line-up, but hasn't supplied the power the Howard typically does. So far between Wigginton, John Matberry Jr., Laynce Nix and Jim Thome, they have a combined four home runs on the season.
Utley could head to Clearwater to begin rehab as soon as next week but there is still no timetable for him to return to the major league club.
In his absence, the Phillies have gotten virtually no offense from second base with Freddy Galvis and Pete Orr taking most of the reps at the position. Galvis is hitting only .190 with a hideous .225 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, Orr is hitting .276 in limited time - neither offer any power.
Right now the offense is the least of the teams problems. They actually have been scoring runs recently, moving up to from 15th-to-eighth in the National League in hitting. Their 21 home runs rank 10th in the league and their 110 runs in good for eighth best.
Will the return of Howard and Utley be enough? The team looks very mediocre without them, but offensively they have held their own, its the bullpen that might have to answer this question.