The Phillies activated the utility man -- who has been on the disabled list with a strained right calf since Aug. 23 -- before Wednesday's game against the Nationals.
Dobbs had been working out at the Phillies' facility in Clearwater, Fla., for the better part of three weeks. Then on Tuesday, he played five innings at third base for Class A Lakewood, reaching on an error and grounding out to first in the Blue Claws' 2-0 playoff win.
"I saw the ball great, hit the ball hard twice," said Dobbs, who was hitting .257 with five homers, 18 RBIs and a .718 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 84 games. "We made a lot of progress [with the calf] over the days down there, and they did a very good job with it, getting it back to where it is today."
Still, the 30-year-old veteran is not feeling 100 percent.
"About as close to [it] as I can get at this point," he said. "Calves are not an easy thing. I'm hoping I can get through this stretch run here, help the team any way I can while I'm here and then get it right once the offseason begins."
Dobbs suffered what appeared to be a minor tweak to his calf on Aug. 21 at Citi Field. Two days later, he landed on the DL. At the time, he declined to speak about his injury, and manager Charlie Manuel said that the team was "trying to pin down exactly what's wrong with him."
So Dobbs headed to the warm but lonely confines of Clearwater. A few times, he said, his leg did not respond to treatment as the training staff had hoped. He was still able to take swings in the cage, but his on-field work was limited, and he had to find creative ways to stay mentally sharp.
"There's not a lot of video down there, but I found myself watching a lot of games, really focusing on the games that I watched," Dobbs said. "I didn't care who was playing. I just needed to see baseball and watch pitchers pitch and think along with the game. I tried to find a TV anywhere that I could do that with. ... You know me. I'm going to do everything I can to be ready to pinch-hit or, if I get in there, start."
Manuel was coy about his plans, although he surely would like to see Dobbs get hot before needing him in a key situation during the postseason.
"We'll see," Manuel said, smiling. "Depends how I feel coming to the yard. Depends on what lineup I want to put in."
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.