Under dark skies, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley took the field at Citizens Bank Park.
OK, so it was hours before Thursday's game against the Dodgers, but it's a step in the right direction for the Phillies.
Howard took grounders at first base for the first time since spraining his left ankle Aug. 1 in Washington. He still moved with a slight limp. Later, Howard took swings in the indoor batting cage.
"I feel all right," Howard said.
The first baseman has long targeted Aug. 17 -- the first day he can come off the disabled list -- as his return date. That remains a possibility, but it could take longer.
Some swelling still remains in the ankle.
"He's doing real well," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's coming along really good. It's just a matter of time."
Utley was cleared to begin hitting and do normal throwing Wednesday by the doctor who performed right thumb surgery July 1. He remains on target for a return late this month or early September.