Ryan Howard Update: Phillies' 1B Set Begins Rehab Stint

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 07: Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks back to the dugout after he flied out in the bottom of the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the National League Divisional Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard begins a rehab assignment on Thursday. He could rejoin the team within three weeks.

The Philadelphia Phillies are slowly but surely getting healthier. First baseman Ryan Howard begins a rehab assignment on Thursday, starting as the designated hitter for Class A Lakewood. He could return to the lineup within three weeks, after the All-Star game.

Howard has been out all season. He tore his left Achilles tendon in his final at-bat of the Phillies' Game 5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League division series. Howard told the press that he feels comfortable with his swing and the slugging ability that made him a core member of the Philadelphia lineup.

Injuries have hamstrung the Phillies this season, but the team is starting to get healthier. Second baseman Chase Utley returned to the lineup on Wednesday night, for the first time this year, and belted a home run in his first at-bat. Starting pitcher Roy Halladay, out with a shoulder injury, could return in late July.

For more on the Phillies check out The Good Phight.

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