By Sam Bush

Like ships passing in the night, Maikel Franco (above) and Ryan Howard may be back soon from their injuries.

In Howard’s case, make that a ship passing in the twlight of once-great career.

Rookie Franco has been sidelined since Aug. 12 with a broken left wrist. He will travel to Clearwater, Fla., today to begin working out at Carpenter Complex. If his rehab goes well, he could rejoin the Phillies as early as Tuesday in Miami.

“I’m excited because now I’m almost close to playing again. I’m happy for that,” Franco said Wednesday afternoon.

Franco has been taking swings and said while he is not 100 percent healthy he feels better every day.

The Phillies have said they will not play Franco until he is completely healthy. But Franco has incentive. Teammate Jeff Francoeur told Franco that if he hits 15 home runs this season he would buy him a couple of suits.

“I want to do it,” he said.

First baseman Howard has a bruised left knee, which needed to be drained because of swelling. An MRI exam showed no structural damage, but he had his knee wrapped Wednesday. He might not travel with the team to Miami.

But Howard said he expects to play at some point.

“Yeah, I’m confident,” Howard said. “I’m not going to do anything crazy. Now it’s just a matter of getting the swelling and stuff out and go from there.


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