By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The way the playoffs ended for the Phillies last year was disappointing. For Ryan Howard, it was not only disappointing, it was disastrous. Not only did Howard make the final Phillies out for the second year in a row, but he tore his Achilles in the process. There’s good news for him though, as it looks like his health may have taken a turn for the better.

Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel called in to Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis yesterday on 94 WIP, and said Howard is ahead of schedule with his injury recovery. “I talked to him yesterday for about 45 minutes. I talked to him about hitting, and I talked to him about his injury of course.” Manuel said. “He’s ahead of where we think he should be. I was talking to Scott Sheridan, our trainer, today. He still thinks that Ryan, the first two weeks of Spring Training, he’ll get a light workout deal to get him where we want him to be. But there’s still that chance he might not start the season.” Original reports from WIP’s Howard Eskin said the injury could keep the first baseman sidelined until May or June.

Manuel also talked about new Phillies relief pitcher Dontrelle Willis, who has been inconsistent in recent years, but is still talented and effective against left handed hitting. “Today, he has good command, he’s got a good slider,” he said. “Dontrelle’s a very positive, upbeat guy man. I’m looking forward to seeing him pitch. I think he’s really ready to fight, and earn a job as our situational left hander.”

94 WIP’s Marc Farzetta contributed to this article.



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