By SCOTT LAUBER, The News Journal
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007
CINCINNATI -- About an hour before most of his teammates reported for work Saturday and were whisked into a meeting to discuss their worst-in-the-majors record, Ryan Howard ran the bases.
It went well.
Perhaps the best news the Phillies received all day is that Howard, sidelined for three games with a sprained ligament below his left knee, should be able to return to the lineup for today's series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.
Over the past few days, Howard's previously noticeable limp has subsided, and under the supervision of head trainer Scott Sheridan, he ran at close to full speed. Once the Phillies' 80-minute meeting concluded, Howard took grounders at first base.
But with Howard out Saturday night, manager Charlie Manuel juggled the lineup, moving regular leadoff man Jimmy Rollins into the No. 3 hole for the first time since last Aug. 22 and sliding Chase Utley into the cleanup spot. Shane Victorino batted leadoff, and Aaron Rowand took Victorino's usual No. 2 spot.
Utley and Rowand each hit solo homers, but Manuel said the lineup likely will be reshuffled once Howard returns.
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