The questions haven’t changed much.
How’s the ankle?
Has the swelling gone down?
When might you be back?
The answers of late have been routinely similar, too. The ankle looks better, feels better, and Howard is close to a return.
In the meantime, however, he’s been astonished at the answers his teammates have found on the field without him — winning nine of 12 games since he went on the DL on Aug. 3 and moving into a first-place tie for the wild card with tonight’s opponent, the San Francisco Giants.
“If you would have told me that with all the injuries and setbacks that we’ve had this year that we’d be (two) games out of first place in the middle of August, I probably would have told you you’re crazy,” Howard said.
It’s hard to blame Howard for his surprise. The Phillies have placed 15 players on the DL this season — including Jimmy Rollins twice — and have fielded their full slate of starters in the same lineup just six times all year.
Howard isn’t sure exactly when he’ll return to the lineup, and there’s a good chance it won’t be during this series against the Giants.
Shane Victorino returned last week and already contributed to Sunday’s win over the Mets.
Chase Utley is likely to be back tonight, and that should be a boost to the already surging Phillies.
But boost or no, the damage the Phillies have done without their biggest sluggers in recent weeks has been nothing short of astounding, starter Roy Halladay said.”
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