Howard said as much in a podcast posted on Thursday on his blog, ryanhoward6.com. The All-Star first baseman said he sets smaller goals for himself, and his current goals include being able to run the bases and play defense comfortably.
Howard, who has not yet played this season after rupturing his left Achilles in the National League Division Series in October, has been in playing in simulated games and facing pitching in Clearwater, Fla. Once a player begins an official rehabilitation assignment, he has 20 days to be activated by the Major League club, barring a setback.
"I'm very optimistic, looking at hopefully being able to start a rehab assignment here, hopefully in the next week or so," Howard said in the podcast. "So then I can actually get back to out playing games and starting to get out there on the field and working my way up to Philadelphia."
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr., in an interview with KYW on Friday, said that Howard has been improving each day and he, too, hopes Howard can start rehab games in the next week.
"He's getting a little bit better and stronger," Amaro told KYW. "He's getting a lot of at-bats in simulated games and such. That's a good sign. He's starting to move around the bases a little bit better each day. Once we get him to as close to 100 percent on the bases as we can get him, we'll probably start an actual official rehab on him."