He said that the Achilles tendon he ruptured last October feels good and that the added rest Thursday - after not starting in Wednesday's game - can only help.
"These off days can be good for us," Howard said. "I feel good. I've got my dress shoes on now and they're pretty comfortable."
The Phillies rattled off four consecutive wins in the middle of a six-game trip out West, taking two of three from the Colorado Rockies before grabbing two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A victory Wednesday would have given them a sweep of the Dodgers, five straight wins, and some momentum to carry into the off day. But Jonathan Papelbon blew his third save of the season, allowing two runs in the bottom of the 10th, and Jake Diekman took the loss after allowing two runs in the bottom of the 12th.
"You've got to take a step back and look at it," Howard said. "Any time you win four of six on a road trip, you definitely take that as a positive."
Even after building a little second-half momentum with the four straight wins, the Phillies sit 131/2 games out of first place, and 10 behind in the wild-card race. Howard, Chase Utley, and Roy Halladay have returned. But thanks to the impending trading deadline, the questions loom: Is it too little too late? Should the Phillies be sellers?
"It is what it is," Howard said. "Until they call and tell me I'm not a Phillie anymore, then I'm a Phillie."
If the Phillies can quickly make up ground before the deadline, they may be able to make a run.
"We've got everybody back now," Howard said. "We're just trying to win one series at a time. You can't make up 13 games in one day."
Utley was expected to make an appearance at Morton's as well as Kyle Kendrick and Phillies president and CEO David Montgomery.
Audience members took part in a silent auction and a live auction, bidding on everything from a golf getaway to signed jerseys of several Phillies. The proceeds went to the Ryan Howard Family Foundation.
In between the festivities, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound man many of the diners have rooted on for the last nine years wore an apron and carried plates of steak across the dining room.
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