Thursday injury roundup

Ryan Howard is making slow progress after suffering a setback in his Achilles rehab. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Ryan Howard wore two sneakers Thursday morning.

That's sort of a big deal, but not really. Until Howard doesn't wear the boot during his activities in the field, he's still constrained by it. The wound is healing enough to the point where Howard can at least walk without aggravating the area.

It's been 24 days since Howard underwent a procedure to clean the wound from his left Achilles surgery. He's been doing workouts for about week now. Nothing has been too strenuous because of the boot. And whether he must start from scratch once the boot officially comes off is up for debate depending on who is doing the talking.

Nonetheless, there is finally some movement from a significant setback.

>>> Placido Polanco took some swings in the cage Thursday morning. He hasn't played since March 17, when he sprained his left ring finger.

>>> Michael Martinez was hobbling on crutches two days after breaking a bone in his right foot. The Phillies have yet to establish a timetable for his recovery, but safe to say he'll start the season on the disabled list.

>>> Domonic Brown is not in the lineup, or even the entire lineup card for that matter, for the sixth straight game. But Brown said his neck problems are gone. "I'm good," Brown said.

>>> Justin De Fratus is scheduled to pitch off a mound next week. De Fratus has been slowed all camp because of soreness in his right elbow, but the pitching prospect said he's throwing at his max long toss without pain. He'll probably miss the first few weeks of the minor-league season, but there is optimism that a more serious injury was avoided with the rest.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.