PHILADELPHIA - Chase Utley and Ryan Howard continue to rehab from their respective injuries, but neither appears close to getting into a game.
Howard finished his second week in Clearwater, Fla., by hitting against live pitching. Howard began swinging Monday after a two-month break from his bat while letting the wound of his surgically repaired left Achilles' tendon heal.
"As far as baseball stuff is concerned, he's progressing pretty good," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He's taking ground balls, making throws. He's doing a lot of different things with our guys there."
So if he's in the early stages of his personal spring training, is getting into rehab games or extended spring training games in the near future?
"I don't know," Amaro said. "I really don't know."
Meanwhile, Utley finished off his first week since rejoining the Phillies by doing some running exercises Friday afternoon before taking batting practice with his teammates. Utley has not, however, taken part in any infield practice since returning from a month-long stay in Phoenix, where he was working with a physical therapist.
"He'll let us know (when he can take ground balls)," Amaro said.
But just 2½ weeks ago, Utley was taking ground balls during batting practice when the Phillies played a three-game series at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Amaro was asked about Utley's up-and-down progression, but said it's not something he or any medical staff could pinpoint.
"I'm not in his body," Amaro said. "There's a combination of things (going on): His stability, his tolerance and really his ability to be strong enough to be playing at his accustomed level."
Jim Thome, the third All-Star infielder on the disabled list, is eligible to return Monday. But Thome, who is suffering from lower back pain, hasn't hit live pitching since going to Clearwater May 2, and therefore won't be activated Monday.