Two seasons ago, the Philadelphia Phillies ended their season with slugger Ryan Howard watching a called third strike from San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson sail by him for the final out in the National League Championship Series. He was the last out of last season, as well. This time, though, he managed to hit the ball, but then crumpled to the ground with a torn Achilles' tendon.
Now the Phils are facing the start of the season without their slugger, who will be out till sometime in May. However, he provided some hope that his return would be sooner rather than later Wednesday when he stepped into the batter's box and took some swings, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
While Howard hit some homers Wednesday and is able to jog and take ground balls, he's not rushing himself back to the lineup and will certainly not be ready for opening day. "Ask me in May," Howard said about when he'll return, according to the paper. "I'm not going to put a time limit on it. I'm going to listen to my body and see where we are."
The Inquirer notes that Howard is still limping, has a much smaller left calf than his right, and weighs more than his usual playing weight. "You're probably not going to really get full strength until maybe around the All-Star break," Howard said, according to the paper. "Nobody has really said a whole, whole lot about that kind of stuff. But I feel good."