Howard: '75 to 80 percent,' but in line-up as DH

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"Am I 100 percent? No. But I'm a lot better," Ryan Howard said. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)

For the record, Ryan Howard wasn't worried that he might have Swine Flu. Or Swan Flu. Or any other type of Flu. Doctors quickly ruled out the Flu during his first trip to the hospital on early Saturday morning. Eventually, they diagnosed him with sinusitis, or, in Howard's words, a sinus infection.

But Howard is here in St. Pete, having arrived around 12:30 p.m. today. He is in the line-up, where he will serve as the designated hitter. Manager Charlie Manuel initially had him at first base, but changed his mind in the hope of keeping him off his feet as much as possible.

Howard said he isn't completely healthy. But he is healthy enough.

"Am I 100 percent?" said Howard, who hit a three-run home run as a pinch-hitter Saturday night, then missed Sunday's loss to the Orioles after a return trip to the hospital early Sunday morning. "No. But I'm a lot better. I'd probably say about 75, 80 percent. Right now it's mostly congestion. Those two days really helped, actually, getting better and what not."

Chris Coste will be making his third major league start at first base.

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Raul Ibanez was pleased with the work he put in today, which included swings during batting practice and some running exercises.

The left fielder said he thinks a July 3rd return is realistic.

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