The last we heard from Ryan Howard and the Philadelphia Phillies, the slugging first baseman was dealing with an infection-related setback that was delaying his efforts to return from an Achilles injury. The best-case scenario was something like the end of May, though some reports pushed his return into June.
Looks like he's mobile and making progress, though. From Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Ryan Howard is here for opener ceremonies. He's taking grounders at first.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) April 9, 2012
Maybe the prognosis didn't change, but at least now we have an image of Ryan Howard on a baseball field doing baseball things, whereas before, I was picturing him in a hospital bed with an infected heel held in traction high above his head. But don't let my own medical ignorance confuse you.
In Howard's stead, the Phillies have used three starting first basemen: Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, and Jim Thome. Jim Thome! Thome recorded eight putouts and one assist, with nary an error, which is encouraging. But the Phillies are also .000 in games he's started. Quite the dilemma.