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Ryan Howard Hit a Baseball Really Far Last Night

Jun 29, 2012, 1:16 PM EDT

Ryan Howard looked downright spry in his rehab assignment last night for Lakewood.

The Phillies took a big step closer to getting the band back together last night as Ryan Howard suited up for the Lakewood Blue Claws in his first game of his current rehab assignment.

As you can see in the video below, Howard lifted one offering deep to left center but it was a few feet shy from leaving the yard — good for a sac fly though. He also looked rather spry on the base path, an incredible sight given the indelible image of him writhing in pain on the ground near home plate to end last season.

With Howard’s return inching closer, Ruben Amaro Jr. is left with deciding how to make room for the Big Piece on the roster. It looks like Jim Thome could be the odd man out. ESPN’s Jayson Stark talked to Amaro about potentially sending Thome to the American League to DH. [videos below]

“The ideal situation right now, because he can’t really play defense in
the National League, would be for Jim to play in the American League,”
Amaro said. “He still has the ability to win a game for us and be
productive off the bench. The problem is, the further away he gets from
regular at-bats, the more difficult it becomes for him to do that. So
we’ll see what happens. We’ll keep in contact with some clubs and see if
there’s the right fit out there for Jim and for the Phillies.”

As Beerleaguer points out, Thome’s stock is probably at its highest now coming off of his super hot display at DH during inter-league play.

The dream of watching Gentleman Jim pull a Matt Stairs in the postseason for the Phillies appears to be drifting away, sadly.

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Howard hitting:

Howard talks about feeling good with video of him putting on the jets trying to get back to first. He looks spry!: