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GM: Ryan Howard nearing return

Updated: July 6, 2012, 2:32 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Ryan Howard is making progress in his rehabilitation for an Achillies injury, and the Phillies' star first baseman might be in the lineup as early as Friday.

"He's getting close," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Thursday before Philadelphia faced the New York Mets. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday night that Howard likely will bat cleanup Friday night, pending meetings with doctors Friday morning.

Howard has participated in six rehab games ...

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