Ryan Howard, Chase Utley take live batting practice

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Ryan Howard and Chase Utley continue to inch their way back to playing shape. Yesterday Utley took batting practice and then some grounders.  According to the report by Bob Brookover, however, the infield practice was limited and, given that playing second is what gives his knee the most trouble, there’s a lot of reason for tempering optimism.

Howard, however, played in what the Phillies call a simulated game on Wednesday and, between that and the other workouts he’s been doing, seems like he’s poised for a rehab assignment soon.