Howard not expected to miss significant time

Howard not expected to miss significant time

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ryan Howard is scheduled to meet with reporters Wednesday, when he will be asked about his recovery from left Achilles surgery.

The most important question: When will he be back in the Phillies' lineup?

"He's a little bit ahead of where they predicted," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Sunday. "When I look at it, I want to make sure he's healthy and ready to go and that he doesn't have any setbacks. I think talking to him and the doctors and trainers, I think it's a reach to say he's going to start the season, but I don't see him missing a whole lot of time. I can't pin it down. Is he going to miss some time? I'd say more than likely. But how much? I don't think it's going to be a significant amount of time."

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said previously he is hopeful Howard could be back sometime in May. In the meantime, Manuel has Jim Thome, Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix available to play first base.