Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies is tended to after he was hurt on the last play of the game as the Phillies lost 1-0 against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the National League Divisional Series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Ryan Howard Back From Achilles Injury

Ryan Howard has completed his rehab assignment, and the Phillies are thrilled to have him back.

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20 Total Updates since October 8, 2011
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Phillies' Ryan Howard Activated From Disabled List

Just over nine months since Ryan Howard suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the final game of the Phillies’ NLDS loss to the Cardinals, he’s back:

Howard went 10-for-20 in his rehab assignment at two Phillies affiliates with a double, a home run and 10 RBI — so there’s apparently nothing wrong with his bat. The Phillies used Ty Wigginton, Michael Martinez, John Mayberry, Jim Thome and Luna at first base in Howard’s absence this season. They combined for a.258/.319/.414 line with 12 home runs and 43 RBI, a far cry from Howard’s usual performance.

It remains to be seen whether Howard, who is now 32 and who declined a bit for the two years before the Achilles injury, can regain his former level, or whether his presence can help the Phillies, who are in last place in the NL East, 13 games behind the first-place Nationals, get back into contention.

But Phillies fans will surely be happy to see Howard back in the lineup. Maybe they won’t even boo.

For more on the Phillies, please visit The Good Phight and SB Nation Philly.


Ryan Howard Homers In Rehab Game

It’s been a long way back for Ryan Howard from the Achilles injury he suffered in the last game of the Phillies’ division series loss to the Cardinals last year.

He’s been on a rehab assignment and in the third game of said assignment, he hit his first home run since 2011. John Finger:

Howard lined a 3-1 pitch from the Yankees’ John Maine onto the berm of grass beyond the fence in left-center field for his first home run in his sixth game of his minor-league rehab stint. An inning later, Howard laced a first-pitch single off the glove of first baseman Francisco Cervelli with the bases loaded to drive in two more runs.

After Howard’s 2-for-3 effort with four RBIs in a 6-5 victory for the IronPigs and a crisp seven innings at first base, Sandberg gave Howard an early start to his Fourth of July day off. Following his short holiday, Howard will return to action on Thursday and Friday where he will play first base and then he should be ready to rejoin the Phillies.

The question, though, is whether the Phillies will be too far out of contention for Howard’s return to help them. They’ll have a couple of weeks before they have to go into sell mode, if that’s what they decide.

For more on the Phillies, please visit The Good Phight and SB Nation Philly.


Ryan Howard 2-For-4 In First Rehab Game

The last time Ryan Howard saw game action, he had to be carted off the field after making the last out of the Phillies' division series loss to the Cardinals and blowing out his Achilles. It might have been the most unfortunate ending to a season in baseball history. But he's back on a rehab assignment, and he's already annoying the minor-league pitchers in the Sally.

Howard was 2-for-4 with two singles in his first game back, and he drove in three runs as the DH. You can judge the quality of his singles for yourself:

He talked to CSN Philly about the game:

"My focus was to get one run home and let ‘Big Duff’ take care of the rest," Howard said. "I told him before he even went up there, I said, ‘Hey, be ready to win this game, man.’ I just went up there and did my thing, and he came through."

"Big Duff" is Chris Duffy, which got me all excited until I realized it wasn't this Chris Duffy, but rather a 24-year-old first baseman.

Because Howard has started his rehab assignment, he has to rejoin the Phillies within 20 days.


Ryan Howard Begins Rehab Assignment

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard suffered an Achilles injury on the team’s final play of 2011, when they were eliminated in their NLDS with the Cardinals.

We’re now almost halfway through the 2012 season, and the Phillies inch closer to getting Howard back. Associated Press via SI.com:

The 32-year-old former NL MVP will begin a rehab assignment with the Class A Lakewood Blue Claws, where he played in 2002.

It’s his first game since rupturing an Achilles tendon after grounding to second for the final out of Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

The Phillies are six games under .500 and 9½ games out of first place, and their first basemen this season have hit .260/.319/.418, far below Howard’s usual level. If he can come back at anywhere near his previous form, the Phillies might still be able to make a run at the NL East title, or at least one of the two wild-card spots.

For more on the Phillies, please visit The Good Phight and SB Nation Philly.


Ryan Howard Nearing Rehab Assignment

It was on the last play of their 2011 season that the Phillies realized they'd probably play a lot of their 2012 season without first baseman Ryan Howard. Howard suffered an Achilles injury, and etc. you already know all of those details. Howard's recovery has been ... gradual, hitting some speed bumps, but lately he's been participating in simulated games, and the next step is getting ever closer:

Howard's rehab assignment would not be a quick one, as he's got a ways to go before he's in game shape. But beginning shortly would put Howard on track to join the Phillies just after the All-Star break, which wouldn't be a moment too soon.

The Phillies are presently tied for last place in the NL East, and the player who's made the most starts at first base is Ty Wigginton. The open arms that will welcome Howard back could not be any more open.


Ryan Howard Return Not Likely In June

The Phillies have been extra secretive when it's come to media access to Ryan Howard, who is still recovering from an Achilles injury sustained on the last play of the 2011 National League Championship Series. I, for one, am picturing Ryan Howard in a laboratory, where he's sedated around the clock and waiting for a new leg to grow in a large, large petri dish.

But now we have an update from CSN Philly. Kind of.

Amaro was asked if he believed Howard could be back before the end of June.

"I don’t believe so," he said. "I don’t think so."

Could Howard be back by the All-Star break?

"I don’t know," Amaro said.

Howard had been taking batting practice, and the earlier reports suggested that June was a possibility. But according to CSN, Howard's calf is weakened from the atrophy that occurred when his leg was immobilized, so they don't want to push him only to have another body part snap. So that means June is out. It's possible that July is in jeopardy, too.


Ryan Howard Taking Batting Practice

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard might be a touch overrated. He's almost certainly paid more than he would be on the open market. He gets MVP votes in seasons where he might not be one of the top four or five first basemen in the league.

But he's still good. His OPS+ in down years is around 125, and when that's ripped from a lineup, it'll hurt. Howard's Achilles injury has hurt the Phillies' offense, as they've made do with Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, and Jim Thome. But Ryan Howard coming back soon would help the Phillies and that team OPS+ of 82. And how. So there's encouraging news from the Associated Press:

Phillies 1B Ryan Howard took batting practice for the first time since February at the team's spring-training facility in Clearwater, Fla. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. called it "progress." Howard, the 2006 NL MVP, has been sidelined since having a procedure to remove an infection near his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon.

The Phillies' moribund offense can use him, and he's still targeting late May or early June for his return.


Ryan Howard Cleared To Resume Baseball Activities; Chase Utley Close Behind

Ryan Howard is on his way to the Phillies' Florida training facility and will resume baseball activities beginning on Monday, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly. Howard has been recovering from offseason surgery after tearing his Achilles on the final play of the Phillies' NLDS matchup with the Cardinals last fall. While he still has a way to go, the fact Howard has been cleared to ramp up his training is a positive sign, perhaps indicating his recovery is moving along nicely.

Salisbury had a quick rundown of what's ahead for Howard in the coming weeks.

Howard will start off fielding ground balls and throwing. He will not hit for a few days, until "he gets his legs under him," Amaro said. Everything that Howard does at first will be under a controlled setting. He will build toward getting at-bats and playing the field in extended spring training games, but there is no timetable for that. Howard has not done any running. He will have to work toward sprinting.

Chase Utley, recovering from knee issues, may also be close behind, perhaps resuming baseball activities in the next week or two. He'll likely follow a similar path as Howard, heading to Florida for more extensive training after being cleared.

For more on Howard and Utley, head over to The Good Phight and SB Nation Philly.


Ryan Howard Fears Injury Is Torn Achilles, Will Have MRI On Saturday

For Philadelphia Phillies fans, Friday went about as poor as could be expected. Chris Carpenter threw a complete game shutout to eliminate the Phillies from the postseason and Ryan Howard went down with an injury that could keep him out of action for a significant amount of time.

Howard's left leg gave out as he tried to leave the batter's box after dribbling a grounder to the right side of the infield for what turned out to be the final out of the Phillies' Game 5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals and had to be helped from the field. Following the game, reporters were told it was an Achilles injury, with Howard set to undergo an MRI on Saturday to diagnose the severity.

Howard later told reporters he thinks he tore his Achilles, which would be the worst possible outcome for both him and the team. If it is, in fact, torn, Howard could miss the entire 2012 season while recovering and rehabbing from the injury. But again, the diagnosis has to be confirmed on Saturday.

Until then, the Phillies wait, and hold their collective breath while hoping for the best. We'll be back with more on Howard's injury as it becomes available in this StoryStream.

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