PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard will begin his climb back to the big leagues in New Jersey on Friday.
Placed on the disabled list on Aug. 3 (retroactive to Aug. 2) with a sprained left ankle, Howard had been hitting, fielding ground balls and running, but he wasn't scheduled for a rehab assignment because of remaining swelling in the ankle. It was deemed healthy enough for him to head to Lakewood, NJ, home of the BlueClaws, the Phillies' Class A affiliate in South Atlantic League. He'll be in the lineup on Friday, the team announced.
If things go well in Friday's game, he'll head to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for another rehab start on Saturday and could be ready to rejoin the Phillies as early as next week. Before Friday's game, Lakewood will retire Howard's number 29 that he wore while playing for the team back in 2002, the first former BlueClaws player to be so honored.
The Phillies will have to make a roster move when Howard is activated, likely to be Dominic Brown being optioned to Triple-A.