There's at least a chance Roy Halladay could make his return to the Phillies rotation in less than two weeks.
On Monday at Turner Field, Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Halladay will begin an official rehab assignment when he starts a game for the Gulf Coast League Phillies on Thursday. Halladay threw a bullpen session on Monday, two days after facing hitters for the first time since May in a simulated game in Clearwater.
Halladay is expected to throw between 70 and 80 pitches on Thursday. His rapid rehab could be nearing a finish line.
"If he goes in a straight line, I don't see him going more than two (starts) before he comes and pitches for us," Amaro said.
So he could return before the end of August?
"A lot of that depends on how he feels... once he pitches on Thursday, we'll see how he feels," Amaro said. "And then he'll pitch again five days later. ... There's a chance. But there's no timetable for him. I couldn't even beign to tell you when he's coming back."
Halladay had shoulder surgery on May 15. He is a free agent after the season.
If he continues on his current rehab without a setback, Halladay could jump back into the Phillies rotation as soon as August 25.
Other news/rehab updates:
-Ryan Howard is "doing rather well" in his own rehab, Amaro said. Howard, who had knee surgery last month, still hasn't swung a bat. But he's lost between 15-20 pounds, according to Amaro, in running on an anti-gravity treadmill. Howard's return in 2013 is uncertain; the Phillies said he won't be back unless he's 100 percent healthy.
-Laynce Nix, who was designated for assignment last Tuesday, cleared waivers and was released. Nix declined an assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
-Jonthan Pettibone, who has been on the DL with a shoulder strain since August 2, will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Thursday at Double-A Reading. Pettibone is expected to throw between 50-55 pitches, Amaro said.