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Phillies First Baseman Ryan Howard Getting Closer to Return

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Philadelphia Phillies may have a stellar pitching staff, but their offense leaves little to be desired. That could be changing soon though, as slugging first baseman Ryan Howard is inching closer to a return to the diamond.

Howard suffered a torn left Achilles in the team's final at-bat during their Wildcard Series against the St. Louis Cardinals back in October. In February, Howard developed an infection after a surgical suture did not dissolve properly. Doctors went deeply into the wound to help the infection heal, but it has slowed down Howard's recovery.

According to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Howard was recently examined by a wound specialist, and the wound is getting smaller and healing. Doctors have determined that Howard needs one more week of healing before determining if he is ready to increase his baseball activities and start undergoing a more aggressive rehab.

Last season, Howard ranked sixth in the National Leauge in home runs and third in runs batted in.The Phillies currently rank just 28th in Major League Baseball in runs scored this season and have started the 2012 season 8-10 heading into Wednesday night.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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