Phillies’ Howard out indefinitely after infection

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard missed workouts again on Wednesday, after a procedure Monday to remove an infection around his surgically repaired Achilles tendon.

Howard, who had the original surgery in October, took part in workouts when camp opened, but stopped after batting practice Saturday. He’s been held out of all baseball activities since, and left the team on Monday to see Dr. Mark Myerson in Baltimore.

Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan could not give an accurate timetable for when he expects Howard to resume his rehabilitation.

“I truly don’t know that answer,” he said.

Howard suffered a complete tear of his left Achilles on the final play of the 2011 season, during Game 5 of the National League Division Series against St. Louis. On Oct. 12, Myerson performed the surgery. The follow-up visit, however, became more involved when Myerson had to treat the infection at the site of the surgical wound.

“It’s like a new wound,” Sheridan said. “So, we’re going to have to protect that healing area. So, they’ll be somedays where we just need to make sure that it continues to heal, that we don’t set ourselves up for any more problems down the line.”

Howard was expected to begin 2012 on the disabled list, but there was optimism when camp began that he could be ready at some point in May. If there was any good news that came out of Sheridan’s update, it was that the former MVP’s surgically repaired Achilles was not compromised by the infection.

“That was our biggest concern going into this. And that was one of the things during the procedure that (Myerson) did confirm, the Achilles tendon is intact and not compromised,” Sheridan said. “I don’t think any time you have an infection, it’s good news, but from the standpoint of the things that could happen and didn’t happen, we’re pleased.”

Howard was placed on antibiotic medication following the latest procedure. He will be held out of any activity while the new stitches heal.

“We’ll see where he’s at,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “I’ve always said it’s a reach for him to open the season, and actually, that’s where it’s at.”

NOTES: The Phillies defeated Florida State, 6-1, Wednesday at Bright House Field. Philadelphia right-hander J.C. Ramirez, who threw a wild pitch to allow the game-tying run in the top of the seventh inning, was credited with the win. . The Phillies will begin their Grapefruit League schedule when they host the New York Yankees on Saturday. Cole Hamels is scheduled to start. Roy Halladay will make his first start of the spring on Sunday when the Phillies play the Yankees in Tampa. Cliff Lee’s first start is scheduled for Tuesday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. . Phillies left-fielder Domonic Brown was hit in the right forearm with a pitch in the second inning, but stayed in the game. Brown broke the hamate bone in the same hand last year, but said Wednesday that he was fine.