Good News for Howard - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Good News for Howard

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    NEWSLETTERS

     It’s been a rough couple of off-seasons for Ryan Howard. Other than the fact that his new contract – a five-year, $125 million extension kicks in this season, the big man hasn’t had too much to be happy about. After all, he was the man at the plate when the last two seasons ended, and to add insult to infamy, he suffered a devastating Achilles injury in his final at-bat in the National League Division Series, when he weakly grounded out to end the series – and the season – for the Phillies. 

    But there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the big man, who received some positive news about his injury on Thursday. From MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki

    Howard had surgery in October to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon. Foot and ankle specialist Mark Myerson examined Howard earlier Thursday and cleared him to begin some strength and power exercises. Howard also will start jogging underwater, and he is likely to begin baseball activities within six weeks. Howard will start by fielding ground balls before progressing to hitting.
    That timetable places Howard's baseball activities around the middle of February, which is the beginning of Spring Training. 
    Other than the aforementioned contract, this is probably the best news that Howard has received in a while, because it quite likely puts him back in a uniform and on a field much earlier than initially expected. Of course, even the most ardent glass-half-fullers have to be cautiously optimistic, because even if things progress quickly, he probably won’t be on the field until the end of spring training.
    But barring any unforeseen setbacks, and based on my completely unscientific opinion and non-medical background, it wouldn’t be too unrealistic to expect Howard to be on a timetable not too dissimilar from the one that Chase Utley was on last season, when he rehabbed from his knee injury. That would put Ryan Howard on the field, in earnest, in April, with a return to the Phillies sometime in late May or early June, which means they need to scrape by with some amalgam of a first basemen for no more than two months.