Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Ryan Howard Might Possibly Could Begin Rehab Assignment Next Week. Maybe

It seems as if The Big Piece may soon be ready to take a big step back to the Majors.

Ryan Howard said on Thursday that he is optimistic he can begin a rehab assignment as early as next week.

In a podcast on his blog, ryanhoward6.com, the former MVP said to start, however, he’s set some small goals for himself, like being able to run the bases and play defense comfortably. Also, that he would be able to learn to eat with chopsticks, finish making his ashtray out of clay, and visit Germany someday before he dies.

You know, little goals are so important.

However, this is good news. Even the most cynical person (and heaven knows, this 2012 season has turned me into one cynical S.O.B.) can’t argue with the fact that getting Howard back into the lineup will be good for this team.

For all his faults, Howard is still the only true power threat on the Phillies.

At least, he was powerful before he shredded his Achilles, followed by a massive infection that forced a second operation, pushing his timetable back another two months. No one really knows what kind of power Ryan will be able to generate on a surgically repaired Achilles tendon.

On his podcast, Howard said, “I’m very optimistic, looking at hopefully being able to start a rehab assignment here, hopefully in the next week or so. So then I can actually get back to playing games and starting to get out there on the field and working my way up to Philadelphia.”

Not for nuthin,’ but was anyone even aware that Ryan Howard had a podcast? Where has this been? Was this the first one? Why haven’t we heard about this before? I’ve got to stop spending so much time with my family and increase my internet time.

For his part, Ruben Amaro spoke to KYW Newsradio in Philly on Friday and said, “He’s getting a little bit better and stronger. 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.”

And once Howard begins an official rehab assignment, like Utley has done, he has 20 days to be activated by the Major League club. That is, unless that player has a setback.

Here’s hoping there will be no more setbacks, and the Big Piece can get back to doing what he does best.

Ending Phillies seasons with him at the plate.

(I’m sorry, guys. That was just too easy.)

A Howard return would be incredibly welcome. After all, Ty Wigginton and Hector Luna ain’t exactly striking fear into the heart of the masses.

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