Ryan Howard's progressions

Ryan Howard has made rehab appearances with the BlueClaws and the IronPigs. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

Ryan Howard has deliberately followed the plan, one that has called for careful and slow progressions. He has yet to play more than five innings in a rehab game at first base, a barrier he could pass Tuesday night in Allentown.

He will play in his sixth official rehab game. Howard told reporters Monday night at triple-A Lehigh Valley he thinks he'll play seven innings in the field Tuesday.

"I think what's going to happen is just see how it feels on a day-to-day basis and just keep going out there and we’ll see what happens," Howard said. "Once you get to the five, seven innings and you get good paces of games — knock on wood — keep the games going kind of the way they’ve been going, and just see how it feels and see if it stands up."

Here is Howard's game log:

6-28: DH for full game
6-29: 1B for 5 innings
6-30: DH for 8 innings, removed for pinch-runner

7-1: 1B for 5 innings
7-2: DH for 8 innings, removed for pinch-runner

He's played every day since starting the rehab assignment, but has yet to appear in the field on consecutive days. That will be a major step, as will completing an entire game in the field.

Howard was asked if he could return before the All-Star break.

"I think anything is possible," Howard said. "You never know. Just take it day-by-day and go from there."

Judging by his progressions, it's looking more like he'll spend close to the maximum 20 days in the minors.

All quotes are courtesy of Matt Provence, Lehigh Valley's Head Hog.

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