PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard will begin his climb back to the big leagues in New Jersey on Friday.
Placed on the disabled list on Aug. 3 (retroactive to Aug. 2) with a sprained left ankle, Howard had been hitting, fielding ground balls and running, but he wasn't scheduled for a rehab assignment because of remaining swelling in the ankle. It was deemed healthy enough for him to head to Lakewood, NJ, home of the BlueClaws, the Phillies' Class A affiliate in South Atlantic League. He'll be in the lineup on Friday, the team announced.
If things go well in Friday's game, he'll head to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for another rehab start on Saturday and could be ready to rejoin the Phillies as early as next week. Before Friday's game, Lakewood will retire Howard's number 29 that he wore while playing for the team back in 2002, the first former BlueClaws player to be so honored.
The Phillies will have to make a roster move when Howard is activated, likely to be Dominic Brown being optioned to Triple-A.
Phils to give Savery time as hitter in Minors
PHILADELPHIA -- Rick Ankiel resurrected his career when he stepped off the mound and grabbed a bat.
Joe Savery could do the same.
Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar said Wednesday that Savery will see some time this season as a hitter with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He also said the Phillies are considering bringing him to the instructional league to hit.
Savery, the team's first-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, is 1-10 with a 5.09 ERA in 24 games (16 starts) with the IronPigs. He moved to the bullpen earlier this season, but returned to the rotation because of various injuries and roster moves.
Savery played college baseball at Rice, where he hit .360 with 18 doubles, four home runs and 54 RBIs in 64 games as a senior. He has hit .273 (6-for-22) with one double, one home run and two RBIs this season in limited at-bats with Lehigh Valley.
"We still think of him -- and I still think he thinks of himself -- as a potential Major League starter," LaMar said. "He has struggled as a pitcher and he has shown some promise as a hitter. We knew he had the ability at home plate, but we wanted to let him pitch and let him get to the Triple-A level and see where pitching takes him. So we'll give him the opportunity to hit in a couple games this year, and hopefully, we'll bring him to instructional league and let him continue to swing a bat."
Phils closely monitoring Dugan, Biddle
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies value a strong farm system so much they traded Cliff Lee in December.
That same farm system helped them get Roy Oswalt last month.
So the Phillies are closely watching the development of their last two top Draft picks: outfielder Kelly Dugan and left-hander Jesse Biddle.
The Phillies drafted Biddle, a 6-foot-4 lefty from Philadelphia, in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He went 3-1 with a 4.32 ERA in nine starts with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies. The Phillies liked what they saw so much they just promoted Biddle to short-season Class A Williamsport.
"He's done everything you could ask of a high school signee in his first summer of professional baseball," Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar said. "He's shown outstanding makeup. Really a mature, competitive kid. That comes across to everybody he comes in contact with. He's thrown really well.
"We wanted to get him up [a level]. It's a big jump from the Gulf Coast League to playing under the lights and facing those college hitters, but we wanted to get him that experience before the end of the summer. We think even if he struggles at times, he's got the kind of makeup that he's not going to get down. He's going to use it as a learning experience."
The Phillies drafted Dugan in the second round of the 2009 Draft. He was their top Draft pick, because the Phillies forfeited their first-round pick when they signed Raul Ibanez, who was a Type A free agent.
Dugan has missed time this season because of an infection in his leg. He hit .273 (3-for-11) with one double and one RBI in four games with Williamsport before the injury. He hit .576 (19-for-33) with four doubles, one triple, one home run and four RBIs in nine games on rehab with the GCL Phillies.
"He missed some valuable development time, but he's kept a good attitude," LaMar said. "He's got a good work ethic. I'm just glad he's back playing. I didn't want him to miss the whole rest of the summer with the infection. It's good to have him back for a couple weeks. Williamsport has a chance to be in the playoffs, and that would be a good experience for him."
Dugan will join the Phillies in the instructional league after the season.
"He's got to get on the field, stay on the field and continue to progress," LaMar said.
Gload returns to Phillies' lineup
PHILADELPHIA -- Ross Gload returned to the Phillies' lineup for the first time since he strained his right groin on Aug. 11.
Gload pinch-hit Tuesday in the series opener against the San Francisco Giants. He grounded out.
Gload was hitting .380 (19-for-50) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 13 starts this season.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.