Baseball notebook: Phillies' Ryan Howard starts rehab assignment
Ryan Howard went 2 for 4 with three RBI Thursday night to start a minor-league rehab assignment that the Philadelphia Phillies will watch...
LAKEWOOD, N.J. — Ryan Howard went 2 for 4 with three RBI Thursday night to start a minor-league rehab assignment that the Philadelphia Phillies will watch closely as they determine whether they will be buyers or sellers at the trading deadline.
The 32-year-old former NL MVP said he is no longer worried about his Achilles, and just needs to refine his timing and baserunning before being ready to rejoin the struggling Phils.
Howard began the second inning for Class A Lakewood by grounding out to the right of the second-base bag, where the West Virginia shortstop playing in a shift gloved it.
But unlike last year, when he crumpled to the ground with a ruptured Achilles as the Phillies' season ended in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, this ground out was full of promise.
"It felt good," Howard said. "The running part was the biggest thing."
Howard said he expects to feel some soreness on Friday, but did not expect it to be bad. He also said he should be ready to play the field soon.
How well — and quickly — Howard progresses through rehab, along with how well Chase Utley does in his own return from injury, may well determine what the Phillies do at the trade deadline. Philadelphia lost 5-4 to Pittsburgh earlier in the day for the Phillies' second straight loss after a modest win streak, and they sit in last place in the NL East, nine games behind Washington. Utley returned on Wednesday and homered in his first at-bat.
Howard said he's eager to return to the Phillies, but will be cautious not to rush back before he's ready. If his rehab goes the full 20 days, Howard could rejoin the Phillies July 18 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
"I've been patient for eight, nine months now," he said. "Another week or two is not going to kill me."
ATLANTA — Arizona pitcher Daniel Hudson still can't believe his right elbow ligament is torn.
The 25-year-old Hudson believes he has a full tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, but won't declare his season is over until he gets a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles on Friday.
"It was a shock," he said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday. "It's something nobody wants to hear. Probably the worst news you can get."
Hudson said that he has "a significant tear in there, it looks like."
• Phillies reliever Chad Qualls asked to be traded after the team informed him that he was being designated for assignment.
• The Yankees purchased the contract of RHP Adam Warren from Class AAA Scranton-Wilkes/Barre, and he'll take CC Sabathia's turn in the rotation Friday for his first big-league start.
• Tigers DH Victor Martinez has undergone a follow-up MRI exam that shows improvement in his injured left knee. The best-cast scenario for Martinez — who had microfracture surgery in January — to return this season is mid-to-late September.
• Former Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra has agreed to plead guilty to three counts stemming from a bankruptcy fraud case in Los Angeles. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison. It's not immediately known when his next court date will be.
Dykstra filed for bankruptcy three years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets. Prosecutors said that after filing for bankruptcy, Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items without permission of a bankruptcy trustee.
The Philadelphia Inquirer contributed to this report.