Most Phillies fans flock to Clearwater in March to get their spring training experience during the height of Grapefruit League play.
But getting down there in May might not be a bad idea if you want to see Ryan Howard
and Chase Utley
go through their own regular season preparation.
Prior to Saturday's game against the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Howard will be flying to Clearwater on Sunday and could be hitting within the week. As for Utley...
"We think he's going to join
us at some point in the next week or so, and if he continues to go well, which
so far he's done pretty darn well, at some point he'll be headed to Clearwater,
too," Amaro said.
Howard is two months removed from the Feb. 27 procedure he had to clean in infection out of the sight of his October Achilles' surgery. He hasn't hit in more than two months and has had his activities limited during a lengthy process waiting for the wound to heal.
Howard visited a wound specialist twice this week.
"I don't think it's completely healed, but it's healed
enough that at this stage they don't feel like it's going to be compromised
anymore, and they can dress the wound in a way that will help that," Amaro said. That's a
The Phils will have a better idea on when Utley will join Howard in Clearwater after he joins them on the road this week. Utley, who is suffering from chondromalacia in his left knee, has been working out with a physical therapist in Phoenix since the team left spring training at the beginning of the month.
Amaro wasn't sure how long either Utley or Howard would be in Clearwater nor how long it would take them to get into game shape.
A year ago, Utley moved fairly quickly once he began his official rehab: he played just nine games with Class A Clearwater before being activated off the disabled list.
"I think it's going to be
longer than that," Amaro said. "I would say we'll have get him some time to really get on the
field and really get after it. But we'll talk with Chase about it and how he
feels and monitor it day to day as we did last year, and we'll do the same with