Stutes impressed with Howard’s rehab

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The reports out of Florida have been extremely positive about Ryan Howard as he recovers from his July 10 left knee surgery and Phillies reliever Michael Stutes says there is reason for optimism.

Stutes returned to the Phillies on Friday. He last pitched on June 22 and was placed on the disabled list two days later with right biceps tendinitis.

Stutes didn’t undergo surgery, just extensive rehabilitation in Florida and he says Howard is one of the people he had been working out with on a daily basis.

“He has been working extremely hard,” Stutes said. “I know it’s kind of your job if you are hurt, that you are supposed to be working, but he is in much better shape and looking a lot quicker on his feet and I think he will surprise some people.”

Stutes said that it helped working out with a player like Howard who helped push him in his own workouts.

“I got to see first-hand how much work he was putting in,” Stutes said. “I would like not to have been there and watching on an everyday basis, but I was there and he was impressive to work with.”

As for Stutes, he says he’s glad to be back before the end of the season. This will ease his mind going into the offseason.

“That was big for me, if nothing else to show the coaching staff I am healthy instead of taking somebody else’s word for it,” Stutes said. “Now they can get their own eyes on some impressions.”

Stutes says he was never hurt before last year when he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder June 26. He made the opening day roster last season, but only appeared in six games before being placed on the disabled list April 22.

Stutes said he was healthy coming into this season.

He began the season with Lehigh Valley and was recalled May 24 and pitched until June 22.

“I threw a lot in the beginning of the season and maybe I should have been a little more cautious coming off an injury,” Stutes said. “Now I know you can’t just come the first day back going 110 miles per hour and you have to walk before you run.”