Phillies don’t expect Ryan Howard back before July

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There’s been a lot more secrecy than firm timetables when it comes to Ryan Howard’s recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon, but today Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. finally offered some news on the first baseman’s status.

Asked by Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com if Howard would be able to return at some point in July, the GM replied: “I don’t believe so. I don’t think so.”

Then, when asked if Howard would return before the All-Star break in mid-July, he said: “I don’t know.”

You know, just in case the Roy Halladay news wasn’t enough to ruin Phillies fans’ week.

Howard tore his Achilles’ tendon making the final out of the Phillies’ season in October and initially there was some hope that he’d be back in the lineup in May, but an infection ruined those plans and slowed his rehab timetable considerably. Seven months later he’s still building up strength in his atrophied calf.

Howard is in the first season of a five-year, $125 million contract extension.

Cubs acquire Jesse Chavez from Rangers

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The Cubs announced on Thursday evening that the club acquired pitcher Jesse Chavez from the Rangers in exchange for minor league pitcher Tyler Thomas.

Chavez, 34, has pitched out of the bullpen for the Rangers this season, compiling a 3.51 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 12 walks across 56 1/3 innings. The veteran right-hander inked a one-year, $1 million deal with the Rangers in February, so the Cubs are on the hook for the prorated remainder — a little less than $600,000.

Thomas, 22, was selected by the Cubs in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. The lefty has made 14 starts and one relief appearance for Single-A South Bend, putting up a 2.88 ERA with an 81/14 K/BB ratio in 75 innings.