Ryan Howard has gotten his wish.
After Friday's 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Howard said he hoped to convince the Phillies to allow him to head to Clearwater to resume baseball-related activities.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Saturday's game with the Cubs that Howard will depart Sunday and begin working out on Monday.
Howard has been limited since Feb. 27, when he required a procedure to clean an infection from his original Achilles tendon surgery wound.
"I don't think it [the wound] is completely healed but I think it's healed enough so that at this stage they don't' feel it will be compromised," Amaro said.
Before Saturday's game, Howard was taking ground balls and when he arrives in Florida, he won't be hitting immediately.
"It will be ground balls and some other things," Amaro said. "He probably won't start hitting for at least a few days because he wants to get his legs under him and doesn't want to get in any bad habits."
Howard was optimistic after seeing the wound specialist on Friday.
"My tendon feels great and feels strong," Howard said on Friday. "The biggest thing is building up the strength around the rest of my foot, my ankle, calf and getting comfortable with that and getting in and doing baseball stuff."
Howard could be joined in Clearwater soon by Chase Utley, who has been sidelined while working to build strength in his chronically injured knees.
"As far as Chase Utley, we think he's going to join us at some point in the next week or so," Amaro said. "If he continues to go well and so far he has done pretty darn well and improving, then at some point he will be headed to Clearwater."
Amaro can't begin to estimate when either player would be able to return to the Phillies.
"I don't think either has to go through a full spring training but they do have to get ready for the season," Amaro said. "They haven't played. So it's going to take some time but this is good progression for both of them I think."
Cliff Lee, who is on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, threw long-toss before Saturday's game with head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan.
Lee is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 4.
"We don't have a timetable but it is good that he is throwing long-toss and it doesn't sound like he is feeling symptoms too badly so it's a good thing," Amaro said.
Looking to improve
Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 9.39 ERA) makes his second start of the season on Sunday against the Cubs and the Phillies hope it goes much better than his first.
Kendrick, who has taken Lee's place in the rotation, surrendered seven runs on 11 hits in just three innings and took the loss in Monday's 9-5 defeat at Arizona.
As the stat line indicates, Kendrick struggled with his command. He threw 63 pitches, 38 for strikes.
"He was belt high and up and not many people can pitch that way," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.
Dawkins makes a pitch
On Saturday, the Eagles announced that they will retire safety Brian Dawkins' No. 20 jersey at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 30 in a game against the New York Giants.
Dawkins later threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's Phillies game.
Neither Amaro on Saturday or Howard on Friday would even venture a guess as to when he could return to the Phillies, but they see this as a positive step.