CHICAGO -- The Phillies on Wednesday offered some encouraging news on Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
Literally minutes after general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Utley could begin fielding ground balls in the next few days, Utley jogged to second base and participated in fielding practice for the first time since rejoining the team May 5 in Washington. Utley is on the disabled list with chondromalacia (soft cartilage under the knee cap) in his left knee. There is no timetable for his return, but Wednesday seemed to be a positive step, considering he had some pain in his knee when taking grounders earlier.
Howard, who is on the DL recovering from left Achilles surgery, is working out in Clearwater, Fla.
"He's done well," Amaro said. "Ryan has been fielding, throwing to all the bases, covering first, hitting, he's doing some running now. He's doing a lot of things. He's basically doing everything. He's not doing everything full speed yet or 100 percent, but a lot of it right now is about getting his strength back in his calf. He's done well. He's progressing pretty good."
Polanco's knee bruised after many foul balls
CHICAGO -- Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco has had a magnet for foul balls on his left knee lately.
He fouled off another one in Wednesday's 9-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, which forced him from the game in the seventh inning. The Phillies said he has a bruised left knee.
How many foul balls is that now?
"I don't know," Polanco said. "Too many."
Polanco said he does not know if he can play Thursday. Hector Luna might get the nod after hitting a pinch-hit grand slam in the ninth inning, the first of his career.
"I've got Luna, man," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Phillies recall Savery, adding fourth lefty to 'pen
CHICAGO -- The Phillies on Wednesday recalled left-hander Joe Savery to replace Vance Worley on the 25-man roster.
That gives the bullpen four left-handers (Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman, Raul Valdes and Savery) and three right-handers (Jonathan Papelbon, Chad Qualls and Jose Contreras).
"I like it," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "As long as they can get people out I don't care what side they throw from. These guys will be OK. 'We have too many lefties. We have too many righties. We have too many lefties.' What do you guys want? All we care about is if they get people out, then we're OK."
It probably would be less of an issue, except two of those right-handers have not been effective lately. Contreras has a 9.00 ERA in 10 appearances. Qualls has a 4.05 ERA in 16 appearances, but a 7.36 ERA in his last nine.
"Contreras' results haven't been great, but I like what's coming out of his hand," Amaro said. "Same way with Qualls. He has thrown very good at times and other times he's gotten bitten a little bit. But I still feel very confident in both those guys."
Pinch-hitter Jim Thome, who is on the disabled list with a strained lower back, is making progress in Clearwater, Fla. He is taking live batting practice.
Infielder Michael Martinez, who is on the DL with a fractured right foot, also is taking live BP.
Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Domonic Brown has been sidelined recently after straining his left hamstring and hyperextending his knee. He might not play in a game for another week to 10 days.
The Phillies traded Lehigh Valley outfielder Rich Thompson to Tampa Bay for Triple-A outfielder Kyle Hudson. The Rays immediately promoted Thompson to the big league club, giving Thompson his first taste of the Major Leagues since 2004.
"It gives us a younger guy with maybe a little more upside," Amaro said. "No disrespect to Rich, but Rich is not a puppy. Hudson is a guy that [player development director] Joe Jordan and our scouts have had some familiarity with. And as far as an athlete is concerned, a pretty good one -- about seven or eight years younger than Rich, and a kid who can really fly. He's a pretty good athlete, so we'll see what we've got."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.