06/01/12 10:24 PM ET
Howard, Utley unlikely to be back before July
By Todd Zolecki and Jake Kaplan / MLB.com
"Rehab is going very well," he said. "I've been hitting in simulated games, still doing all my baseball stuff. The leg is getting a lot stronger and it's coming along. I've been doing a little bit of running, some light jogging, trying to get back into that. I think the last thing to kind of come will be the running and be able to step it up and turn it into sprints. Things are looking on the up and up. I'm happy with where things are right now."
Chase Utley, who has a chronic left knee condition, continues to work out with the big league club. The Phillies said he is making progress, although general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said it is unlikely he will be back before the end of June.
Amaro offered a similar assessment earlier this week for Howard's return, meaning it is unlikely either player will return before July 1.
Utley has been in the outfield occasionally during batting practice, chasing down balls, but he isn't eager to discuss it. Asked a couple times about possibly playing left field in the future, he told reporters, "I haven't thought too much about it."
Players like Robin Yount and Chipper Jones successfully moved from the infield to the outfield, and perhaps a similar move could save Utley's knees and keep him in the lineup.
Asked about Utley possibly moving to the outfield, Amaro also seemed reluctant to talk about the possibility, "I don't know. It's a tough thing to ask this guy. He's never done it. I couldn't tell you. I don't know. It's a tough message to send him. I know that."
In what way?
"To ask a guy to move a position," Amaro said. "I'm not sure whether it does take pressure off [the knee] or not, whether it changes. But it's awfully tough after a guy who's never really played in the outfield -- he's been in the big leagues 10 years now, playing second base and however long he played in college -- to all of a sudden say, 'Hey, he's going to play another position.' It's tough."
Phillies await second opinion on Doc
PHILADELPHIA -- Awaiting the results of Roy Halladay's second opinion?
The Phillies said they are, too.
Halladay is on the disabled list with what the team has called a strained right latissimus dorsi. He is expected to be sidelined from activity for three weeks, but he could be back on the mound pitching for the Phillies in six to eight weeks. Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti examined him Tuesday in Philadelphia, but Halladay got a second opinion from Mets physician David Altchek later this week.
Altcheck is examining previous MRI results and a recent CT scan, and when he has a report, the Phillies said they will pass it along.
Is there any reason to believe Halladay's injury could be more than they think?
"We don't think so, but I'm going to wait until Altchek gets all the information," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I'm pretty optimistic that it is what it is."
Halladay had not looked like himself since Spring Training. His velocity had dipped from previous seasons. He also had not looked as sharp. The Phillies have been questioned why they did not examine Halladay earlier, if they suspected he was not right. Perhaps an earlier exam could have caught the problem before it got worse.
"At no time did Doc really complain about anything or have any issue," Amaro said. "Doc has been with us since January 1 in camp. We get to see him every single day. He's seen. He does his work. Our medical people and our rehab people are with him all the time. He never really made any indication at all, until more recently, that he even had an issue. His velocity, I think a lot of people are making a lot of it, but it wasn't all that different from where it's been. Maybe a tick below. But I think more than anything else, we thought it was more of a mechanical thing. And I think Dubes [pitching coach Rich Dubee] and Roy had been working on some of that stuff because he didn't think mechanically he was right. But it wasn't anything all that alarming. Had the player told us something was bothering him we would have addressed it. Evidently, he didn't."
Amaro said it is not normal protocol to pull a player off the field when he has not complained about an injury and have him tested.
"We check with him every day, every start, if the player had an issue or felt like he had an issue he would tell us," Amaro said. "It's not like we're not proactive about it. We're proactive on all of our guys when it comes to that."
After cortisone shot, Victorino optimistic
PHILADELPHIA -- Shane Victorino played coy for a few minutes Friday before he revealed he had a cortisone shot in his right hand near his index finger.
He said he believes he will be in the lineup Saturday. He entered Friday's game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement in center field.
Victorino, who had the shot Friday morning, has had some soreness near the index finger since Spring Training. He said he feels it only when he hits left-handed. Hand specialist Randall Culp administered the injection.
It is worth noting Victorino is hitting .227 (37-for-163) left-handed compared to .333 (15-for-45) right-handed. Victorino refused to use that as an excuse, however, mentioning he always has been a stronger right-handed hitter. That is true, but his career splits are not as drastic, hitting .299 right-handed compared to .271 left-handed.
"It started getting a little worse as time went on," Victorino said. "I think it's going to be there for the rest of the year, but hopefully the cortisone shot brings some relief. And that's what I would want. It's nothing more than that."
Worley eager to come off DL, start on Monday
PHILADELPHIA --- It's not official, but all signs point to Vance Worley coming off the disabled list in time to slide into Roy Halladay's spot in the rotation on Monday.
Worley, who has been on the 15-day DL since May 12 with right elbow inflammation and a bone chip, said he felt good after throwing 45-50 pitches in a bullpen session on Friday. He said there was no discomfort or pain, and all of his pitches came out well.
Asked if he felt he could pitch in a Major League game on Monday, Worley said he could.
"Everything was coming out the way it should," he said.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said if Worley feels good on Saturday, he would probably start in Monday's game against the Dodgers.
"We'll see how he feels tomorrow," Amaro said.
Before going on the DL, Worley was 3-2 with a 3.07 ERA in seven starts. The right-hander is eager to get back on the mound.
"I'm tired of watching and not doing anything," he said.
Thome, Martinez begin Minors rehabs
PHILADELPHIA --- First baseman Jim Thome and infielder Michael Martinez each got a hit in their first rehab games with Class A Clearwater on Friday night.
Thome went 1-for-3 with a walk and Martinez was 1-for-4 and scored a run.
It's possible that Thome, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 29 with a strained lower back, could rejoin the Phillies some time during their upcoming nine-game road trip against American League clubs. The Phillies play at the Orioles, Twins and Blue Jays from June 8-17. If he's ready by then, Thome could start as the designated hitter in some of those games.
"He's got a lot of at-bats down in extended spring [camp], done some simulated stuff," Amaro said. "I think it's realistic. If he doesn't have any setbacks. At least we're trying to target that time frame."
Amaro was non-committal when asked if Thome might get into games as a first baseman upon his return. Thome, who had just two hits in 18 at-bats in 2012, started at first four times before going on the DL.
"That's a good question," Amaro said. "I think probably putting him in a position would be a little risky. And obviously taking ground balls is tough [with his back injury]. I don't think he was very comfortable with that. But we'll see. We'll see how it progresses, see what happens. We want to get him on the field first and get him swinging the bat, and we'll kind of go from there."
Martinez, who has been on the DL since March 26 with a right foot fracture, was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 12.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz returned to the lineup for Friday night's game against the Marlins after not starting in any of the three games against the Mets with a mild right hamstring strain. Ruiz entered Friday's games third in Major League Baseball with a .371 average. "He's feeling better," manager Charlie Manuel said.
Hector Luna got his first start in left field with the Phillies on Friday. Luna had previously started in the outfield 41 times in his career, including 22 times in left field. Manuel said he watched Luna play in the outfield about five times in Spring Training, and the manager did not seem worried about Luna's defense. "He's caught the balls he's supposed to catch. I've played worse in left," Manuel said, prompting laughter from a group of reporters. "I'm not mentioning no names."
Laynce Nix tested his strained left calf by running on Friday, and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the outfielder was encouraged. "He's been hitting for a while, which is a good thing," Amaro said. "Not sure exactly what the timetable is, but he should be getting going on a rehab at some point once he feels like he can push off aggressively with his calf."