PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, on the 15-day disabled list with a left quadriceps strain, started running Wednesday and could begin a rehab assignment next week.
All-Star closer Tom Gordon, who is out with inflammation in the rotator cuff, should start an intensive program next week that would include throwing. Assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday he doesn't know when Gordon would be able to pitch competitively.
Howard, the NL MVP last season, slumped this year after hitting .313 with 58 homers and 149 RBIs in one of the best seasons ever for a second-year player. He's batting .204 with six homers and 23 RBIs, and has struck out 39 times in 98 at-bats.
Barring any setbacks, Howard is scheduled to serve a rehab assignment as a designated hitter at Class A Lakewood on May 23-24. He is eligible to be activated May 25.
Gordon will go to Clearwater, Fla. early next week for his program.

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