Injury updates on Howard, Victorino

Phillies Centerfielder Shane Victorino is currently on the 15-day disabled list. (Steven M. Falk / Staff file photo)

The injury news is good for Shane Victorino and not as rosy for Ryan Howard.

Victorino (left abdominal strain) said he will begin a rehab assignment for triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. He will play five innings Tuesday, seven innings Wednesday and nine innings Thursday. If all goes well, the plan is to activate Victorino for Friday's series opener in New York against the Mets.

Victorino is eligible to return from the disabled list Thursday.

Howard can come off the DL on Aug. 17. The first baseman said he is still hoping to return then but it seems unlikely at this point. The swelling in Howard's sprained left ankle has diminished, but some swelling remains. He was limping around the clubhouse this morning.

"I'm walking, it's a miracle," he joked.

Howard has done little in the way of baseball activities. He was injured a week ago Sunday.

"I don't know yet," Howard said when asked of a possible return. "Just taking it day by day."

If Victorino returns Friday, the Phillies will face an interesting decision in their outfield. Top prospect Domonic Brown has started seven of 11 games since being called up when Victorino was injured. But that playing time would almost certainly go down once the Phillies' normal outfield is entirely healthy.

It's possible the Phillies could send Brown back to triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday, have him play every day there for two and a half weeks, then recall him on Sept. 1 when the rosters expand.

Or they could find a way to keep him on the 25-man roster while still receiving enough playing time.

For now, here's today's lineup:

1. Jimmy Rollins SS
2. Placido Polanco 3B
3. Ross Gload 1B
4. Raul Ibanez LF
5. Jayson Werth CF
6. Domonic Brown RF
7. Brian Schneider C
8. Wilson Valdez 2B
9. Roy Halladay P