NEW YORK -- The Phillies said Ryan Howard is making progress in Clearwater, Fla., but don't expect him back in the lineup before the end of June.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday he preferred not to put a timetable on Howard's return from left Achilles surgery, but said, "I don't expect it," when asked if a return before July 1 is likely.

Howard's left calf has atrophied after months of inactivity following surgery in October and a second surgical procedure in February after developing an infection near the tendon.

"He's coming along really well," Amaro said. "But he's still got to get strength back in his leg, and he still has more work to do."

Amaro said Chase Utley, who has a chronic left knee condition, is improving a little every day, but offered no timetable for his return.

Doc sees Mets physician for second opinion

NEW YORK -- Roy Halladay visited Mets physician David Altchek on Wednesday for a second opinion on his strained right latissimus dorsi.

Results were not expected Wednesday.

"We encourage it," Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said of the second opinion. "It just provides him further peace of mind."

After conferring with Altchek, Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti and the Phillies' athletic training staff, Halladay is expected to meet with reporters sometime before the end of this weekend's series against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies said Halladay will be sidelined from activities for three weeks, but they hope he can be back on the mound in six to eight weeks.

Ruiz rests hammy before making presence felt

NEW YORK -- Carlos Ruiz found himself on the bench again Wednesday because of a strained right hamstring, but he looked mighty healthy when he smacked a pinch-hit two-run home run to left field to tie the game in the seventh inning in Wednesday's 10-6 victory over the Mets.

Before the game, it sounded like Phillies manager Charlie Manuel could have started Ruiz, but with an off-day Thursday, he figured a couple extra days of rest could help his catcher. Manuel later sent Ruiz to the plate to pinch-hit for Cliff Lee.

Said Ruiz: "I feel better today. I was running outside today and I feel better. I don't want to say [100 percent], but close. I think today and tomorrow are going to be the difference. I'll see how I feel Friday."

Ruiz said he felt tightness in his hamstring for a couple days before it intensified Sunday in St. Louis while running the bases.

Rollins rewards Manuel's faith with big night

NEW YORK -- Jimmy Rollins entered Wednesday's series finale against the Mets with a .286 on-base percentage, which ranked 148th out of 170 players in baseball.

His .572 on-base-plus-slugging percentage ranked 163rd.

But Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he has no plans to drop Rollins from the leadoff spot.

"He's been there ever since I've been here, and at the same time, I'd like to know who else I could put up there," Manuel said. "You always ask me the same questions. He's been our leadoff hitter. There's guys I can put there, but I like him better than anybody I've got, I guess."

Maybe Rollins' ears were burning from the talk before the game because he went 3-for-5 with a three-run home run in a 10-6 victory over the Mets.

Asked why Rollins is struggling, Manuel said, "It's kind of been the way things have been going for him. He usually hits a ball a night hard -- some nights he gets a couple hits, some nights when he hits that ball hard, he doesn't get any. That gets back to the consistency part."

Worth noting

• Laynce Nix (strained left calf) jogged around the warning track for the first time Wednesday. He does not consider that a major step forward, however, and said there is no timetable for his return. "I didn't have a whole lot of spring, but it's not painful," Nix said. "Just a really light jog. We're making progress."

• Asked why he liked Ty Wigginton hitting cleanup between Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino the past two games, Manuel said, "In that lineup right there, that's where it fits. In that lineup right there, he would be the power hitter."