04/16/12 10:40 PM ET
Howard doing well as wound heals
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
He visited a wound specialist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on Monday. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had little to report other than the wound in Howard's left heel continues to heal. Howard suffered a setback in February, when an infection developed following surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon. The infection required a surgical procedure Feb. 27 to remove sutures that had not properly dissolved.
"His wound is still healing," Amaro said. "He's doing well. We're continuing the same deal."
There is no timetable for Howard's return.
"The biggest challenge was for the wound to get to the skin from how deep it was," Amaro said. "It's getting there. It's getting pretty close. ... The question is when does he start doing stuff so it doesn't compromise the healing process? We're still on hold as far as that is concerned. Hopefully we'll know more in the next couple of days."
Cain says Hamels' contract case is different
SAN FRANCISCO -- If Cole Hamels felt inclined, he could send Matt Cain a nice thank-you card.
Cain signed a five-year, $112.5 million contract extension with the San Francisco Giants earlier this month, which raised the value of Hamels' next deal. The Phillies and Hamels are not close to an agreement and there have been reports there have been no substantive negotiations lately, but if Cain got $112.5 million, Hamels figures to make more than that.
"He's a different guy than I am," Cain said before Monday's series opener against the Phillies at AT&T Park. "Every case is going to be different."
Cain said he was unaware his deal caused a stir in Philadelphia because of its impact on Hamels, who can become a free agent after the season. There had been some thought the Phillies might be able to retain Hamels for something closer to $100 million, but not anymore.
"History-wise, lefties have always brought more than a righty," Cain said. "It's just the nature of the game."
Entering the season, Hamels was 74-54 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games in cozy Citizens Bank Park. Cain was 67-72 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games at canyon-esque AT&T Park. Hamels had more strikeouts (1,091 to 1,055), a better strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.74 to 2.32) and WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched, 1.14 to 1.21) in that span.
Cain said his agent probably kept his eye on Hamels much like Hamels' agent kept his eye on Cain because one man's deal would impact the other.
Asked if Cain wrestled with signing or hitting the open market, where he could have made more money, he said, "When you're leading up to it, you're thinking you've got this opportunity to go to free agency. As a player that's always the big thing to do: Go to free agency and experience that. But it's not always a beautiful thing. It can be great, but in my situation, it worked out perfectly. I'm staying in San Francisco. It's going to be great. I don't know if that's going to be the same with Cole or not."
Phillies fans are wondering the same thing.
Utley getting stronger; De Fratus close to rehab
SAN FRANCISCO -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. offered injury updates on infielders Chase Utley and Michael Martinez and right-hander Justin De Fratus on Monday at AT&T Park.
He said Utley, who is sidelined because of a chronically injured left knee, continues to rehab in Phoenix. He is expected to rejoin the team next week, when the Phillies travel to Arizona to play the D-backs.
"His strength seems to be improving," Amaro said. "He's moving forward."
There is no timetable for Utley's return.
Martinez has a fractured right foot. He will be in a walking boot for another two weeks, when team physician Michael Ciccotti will evaluate him. De Fratus, who is rehabbing from a sprained right elbow, could pitch in an extended spring training game Thursday. He could begin a rehab assignment shortly after that.
"He's making very good progress," Amaro said of De Fratus.
Infielder Mike Fontenot passed his physical and is going to work out in Clearwater, Fla., for about a week before he joins Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He will provide the organization middle infield depth.
Lehigh Valley left fielder Domonic Brown is hitting .297 with two doubles, one triple and seven RBIs in 37 at-bats.
"He's doing well," Amaro said. "Playing aggressively. From the reports from Ryne [Sandberg], he's got good balance at the plate. He's got a good approach. He's doing OK."
Asked how Brown is handling left field, Amaro said, "He's doing pretty well."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.