The Phillies may have signed Jim Thome, but they are still very much counting on Ryan Howard to provide Philadelphia with home-run production.
The team got good news in that area as Howard has been making progress in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the final at-bat of the NLDS.
"The last time I talked to him was probably about 10 days ago," manager Charlie Manuel told the Philadelphia News. "He's going to see the doctor again next week. Right now, he's doing really well. The big test for him will be probably be after about two or three months. That's when he really starts to move around and do things."The hope is that Howard could be ready for Opening Day, although that's a long shot. A best-case scenario will have Howard returning fairly early on in the season. Any setback could leave Philadelphia trying to fill the position of first base through the All-Star Game or perhaps beyond.
Two other Phillies are recovering from injuries -- right fielder Hunter Pence and third baseman Placido Polanco, who both had surgery to repair sports hernias.
"Polly (Polanco) should be ready for spring training," Manuel said. "He said he'll definitely be ready to go."
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