Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 3/22/12

Ryan Howard, Phillies 1st Baseman, has been cleared to stop using a walking boot. This is the first step in Howard getting back to the Phillies.

After what has seemed like an unending litany of bad news out of Clearwater from the Philadelphia Phillies, finally comes some good news.

Slugger Ryan Howard, who has been recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon and then an infection related to the surgical site, has been cleared to stop using a walking boot.

Howard had been taking batting practice and grounders when Spring Training started, but suffered a setback when he had to visit his surgeon in Baltimore late in February. Howard ha an open wound that was not healing, and the surgeon had to re-open the incision and clean out the infection that had developed there. Since then, Howard has not been able to resume baseball activities, though he has done some strength training.

With news that the boot can come off, comes the first indication that the slugger is on his way to returning to the Phillies lineup. The Phillies have maintained that Ryan Howard should be ready sometime in May, but others have been more skeptical of that timetable. Ryan Howard has refused to put an official timetable on his return, instead choosing to take it a little slower this time around, implying that perhaps he may have pushed too hard earlier this Spring.

The Phillies will also start the season without Chase Utley, their All Star 2nd baseman, leaving them without their two biggest run producers in an offense that has struggled to score as it has in the past. It also leaves the Phillies without the entire right side of their infield.  While Howard has not been cleared to take batting practice, he did field grounders while seated on a stool today.

It may be just the beginning for Howard, but at least it was something positive in a Spring filled with injury news.

Similar Posts:

  • Can the Phillies Compete without Howard (and Utley)?
  • Will Ryan Howard Play This Year? J-Roll Doesn’t Think So
  • Phillies Odds and Ends – Spring Training
  • The Chase Utley Watch Has Officially Begun… Again
  • 5 Reasons to Be Concerned About the 2012 Phillies

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