There is a glimmer of hope for the foundering Philadelphia Phillies.
Pitching ace Roy Halladay is set to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at single-A Clearwater, the next step on his recovery from soreness in his right shoulder.
"I've felt really good, don't have any soreness," said Halladay, who was placed on the disabled list May 29 after trying for several weeks to pitch through the pain.
"It's just a matter of really getting the pitches back up. Get used to throwing off the mound and getting the pitch count built back up."
Halladay, 33, has an off-season home near Clearwater, Fla., where the Phillies have spring training and minor-league facilities.
There is no timetable for the right-hander's return to the Phillies, who have been buoyed of late by the return of first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley.
If you get caught up with a set date, and if you're a little more sore than you anticipate, then you get yourself in trouble," Halladay said. "I think we'll keep going day to day. I feel good."
The Phillies, 37-50, are 14 games behind the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.
MET PITCHER IN HOSPITAL
New York Mets pitcher Dillon Gee was expected to remain in hospital for another day or two after a blood clot was found in an artery in his right shoulder.
Gee, 26, was taken to a New York hospital Monday after experiencing numbness in his fingers and was scheduled to undergo tests including an angiogram and an MRI when the clot was discovered.
The right-hander is 6-7 with a 4.10 earned-run average this season. He was scheduled to pitch next weekend against the Atlanta Braves.
The best-case scenario for the Mets would be Gee missing only one start. Because he pitched July 7, the move made retroactively makes him eligible to return July 23.
SHEETS MARKS RETURN
Veteran pitcher Ben Sheets is scheduled Sunday to get his first start in almost two years.
The right-hander will be on the mound for the Atlanta Braves in the series finale against the New York Mets.
It will be his first big-league start since July 19, 2010.
Sheets, who turns 34 on July 18, is coming off two elbow surgeries. He has a 90-92 record with a 3.79 ERA over nine seasons -- eight with the Milwaukee Brewers and one with the Oakland A's.
Sheets signed a minor-league deal with the Braves on July 1.
Nick Markakis has been activated by the Baltimore Orioles after sitting out six weeks with a broken hamate bone in his right wrist. The 28-year-old right fielder has a .256 average with eight homers and 26 RBI this season ... New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain pitched Tuesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow June 16, 2011. Chamberlain, who also suffered a serious ankle injury in a trampoline accident in March, threw 23 pitchers in one inning and had two strikeouts in a Gulf Coast League game. About 700 century-old baseball cards have been discovered in the attic of a home in Defiance, Ohio. Karl Kissner believes the cards -- which could be worth up to $3 million now -- belonged to his grandfather, Carl Hench. The cards will go to auction with about 20 relatives splitting the proceeds.