Herrera on track to return to Phillies this week

Altherr nearing game action in rehab with Triple-A IronPigs

Herrera on track to return to Phillies this week

MIAMI -- Odubel Herrera's impressive, and at this point expected, bat flip following a home run in his first rehab game at Double-A Reading on Thursday is a telling sign he's near full strength.

Herrera and outfielder Aaron Altherr, two fixtures in Philadelphia's lineup, are progressing after beginning rehab assignments. They are working their way back from strained hamstrings.

The 25-year-old Herrera is on track to return to the Phillies early next week, with sometime during the club's three-game series beginning Monday against the Mets as a possible target.

Herrera went 2-for-2 with a home run on Thursday with the Fightin Phils and is expected to play seven innings Saturday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He's been on the 10-day DL with a strained left hamstring since Aug. 18.

"He played five innings. He's got a day off today," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "We should see him shortly thereafter. He's doing fine."

Asked if he'd seen video of Herrera's most recent bat flip, Mackanin cracked a smile.

"It's a bat flip," said Mackanin, who joked it must be a sign he's healthy.

Not far behind Herrera is Altherr, who is close to playing in a rehab game. He's currently on a rehab assignment with the IronPigs.

Altherr's go-ahead RBI single

Altherr was placed on the 10-day DL on Aug. 5 with a strained right hamstring. It's the second time he's been shelved with the injury this season, the first coming in July.

"Altherr is progressing. I think he's close to getting in a game," Mackanin said. "Odubel's maybe a little bit ahead of him, but they're both doing OK."

Herrera had been one of the hottest hitters in baseball before the leg injury sidelined him. The outfielder was in the middle of a 17-game hitting streak as part of .287/.333/.467 line this year.

The 26-year-old Altherr's breakout year has been limited by injuries, but he's slashing .285/.357/.536 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs in 87 games.

Noteworthy

Jerad Eickhoff received an MRI on Friday to examine nerve irritation in his right hand. He was placed on the disabled list Thursday because of the injury. It is still unclear who will take his rotation spot, and whether he will pitch again this season.

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.