Howard likely won't return by end of June

Howard likely won't return by end of June

NEW YORK -- The Phillies said Ryan Howard is making progress in Clearwater, Fla., but don't expect him back in the lineup before the end of June.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday he preferred not to put a timetable on Howard's return from left Achilles surgery, but said, "I don't expect it," when asked if a return before July 1 is likely.

Howard's left calf has atrophied after months of inactivity following surgery in October and a second surgical procedure in February after developing an infection near the tendon.

"He's coming along really well," Amaro said. "But he's still got to get strength back in his leg, and he still has more work to do."

Amaro said Chase Utley, who has a chronic left knee condition, is improving a little every day, but offered no timetable for his return.