Phils provide positive reports on Utley, Howard

Phils provide positive reports on Utley, Howard

CHICAGO -- The Phillies on Wednesday offered some encouraging news on Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Literally minutes after general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Utley could begin fielding ground balls in the next few days, Utley jogged to second base and participated in fielding practice for the first time since rejoining the team May 5 in Washington. Utley is on the disabled list with chondromalacia (soft cartilage under the knee cap) in his left knee. There is no timetable for his return, but Wednesday seemed to be a positive step, considering he had some pain in his knee when taking grounders earlier.

Howard, who is on the DL recovering from left Achilles surgery, is working out in Clearwater, Fla.

"He's done well," Amaro said. "Ryan has been fielding, throwing to all the bases, covering first, hitting, he's doing some running now. He's doing a lot of things. He's basically doing everything. He's not doing everything full speed yet or 100 percent, but a lot of it right now is about getting his strength back in his calf. He's done well. He's progressing pretty good."