Howard said he's not sure what's causing the pain, but he knows it's not going away anytime soon.
"Just have to play through it," he said. "It's not going anywhere. We'll just continue to treat it, stretch it, keep it loose."
Last season, Howard suffered a badly sprained left ankle scrambling to get back to second base in a game at Washington. He missed the next three weeks. He's not certain the bursitis, which is in his left heel and Achilles tendon, is related to that injury.
"This is something different than last year," he said, "but they say those things can linger."
Howard said that the soreness has come on gradually, that it wasn't caused by any sudden movement. He seemed amenable to getting a couple of days off.
"That could do a lot," he said.
A few days off could cost Howard the NL home-run title. He has 31 homers, three behind Albert Pujols.
For the third time this season, the Phillies recalled utility player Pete Orr from triple-A Lehigh Valley. With Jimmy Rollins still on the disabled list and Placido Polanco playing with a sports hernia and iffy back, the Phillies thought they needed another backup infielder.
"We've got to kind of watch Polanco," Manuel said. "He's going to need a blow every now and then. He's not ready to play seven, eight days in a row."
Orr, who made the 25-man roster out of spring training, has a .227 average in 66 at-bats with the Phillies. He has played in 32 games with 16 starts at second base.
Rollins, out with a groin strain, was eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, but he needs more time.
"He's just not ready yet," Manuel said.
To no one's surprise, Cliff Lee was named NL Player of the Month. The lefthander went 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA in five starts during August. He is the first pitcher in major-league history to have two months in one season with at least five wins, zero losses, and an ERA lower than 0.50. His ERA was 0.21 in June.
In the minors
Lehigh Valley shortstop Freddy Galvis and lefthander Joe Savery were named Phillies minor-league player of the month and pitcher of the month for August.
Galvis, a 21-year-old switch-hitter, batted .321 with 34 hits in 29 games. Savery, the club's first-round choice (No. 19 overall) out of Rice University in the 2007 draft, was 2-0 with an 0.61 ERA in 11 appearances. He had 16 strikeouts in 142/3 innings.
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at email@example.com or @rayparrilloinq on Twitter.