Howard's wound still healing; Pence on hold
Chase Utley ($15 million) took ground balls at second base for the first time in two months. His return isn't imminent, but Utley is certainly on an upward path in his rehab from as ailing left knee.
On the same day, Hunter Pence ($10.4) was out of the lineup for the first time all season with a sore left shoulder. It's highly possible Pence will miss his second straight game tonight; Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Pence will have an MRI on his shoulder today in Phoenix.
There was more news on Tuesday, but you could hardly use the word "encouraging," to describe it. Ryan Howard ($20 million) saw a wound specialist on Monday and was not cleared to resume full baseball activities.
Howard has taken light ground ball work in the last three weeks, but he hasn't hit in two months --- since Feb. 25.
"(Howard's) wound has gotten smaller and is healing," Amaro said in a statement. "We’ve been advised to limit his activities for one more week to allow it to continue to heal. We hope that he will be able to re-start his baseball activities thereafter."
Meanwhile, Cliff Lee ($21.5 million) played catch prior to Monday's game at Chase Field, a game he was originally on tap to start before landing on the disabled list on Saturday with a left oblique injury. Lee isn't eligible to return until May 4.
Throw in utility infielder Michael Martinez, who isn't expected back until early May, and you can bump that salary number on injured players to over $67 million of the Phillies $172 million Opening Day payroll.
All of the aforementioned players, with the exception of Pence, are on the DL. If Pence joins them, well, an offense that's the second worst in baseball surely won't be getting any better for at least another two weeks.