PHILADELPHIA (AP) -NL MVP Ryan Howard, on the disabled list with a left quadriceps strain, field grounders Sunday and is on target to return to the Philadelphia Phillies this week.
Howard said he felt fine after talking groundballs for nearly 45 minutes before the Phillies beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3, and planned to play at Atlanta when he's activated from the DL on Friday.
``I felt good. I'm ready to go,'' Howard said. ``That's the plan, to try and be ready to go. Right now, things are looking pretty good. Hopefully they keep going the same way and the leg keeps getting better.''
Howard is scheduled to serve a rehab assignment as a designated hitter Tuesday and Wednesday at Class-A Lakewood.
Howard slumped this year after hitting .313 with 58 homers and 149 RBIs in one of the best seasons ever for a sophomore player. He's batting just .204 with six homers and 23 RBIs, and has 39 strikeouts in 98 at-bats.
The Phillies on Sunday also sent LHP Fabio Castro to Double-A Reading, leaving the Phillies without a lefty in the bullpen. Castro was 0-0 with a 12.57 ERA in five innings.
Injured Phillies reliever Ryan Madson struck out two and gave up three hits in two scoreless innings in a rehab appearance at Reading. Manager Charlie Manuel said Madson should be activated before Tuesday's game at Florida.

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