Philadelphia fans have been anxiously awaiting good news concerning two of the team’s biggest stars and power brokers, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, as the team floundered at the bottom of the NL East standings. But, sitting just 8 1/2 games out despite the absence of their ace, Roy Halladay, and these two behemoths, there appears to be ample time for a second-half run.

We’ve heard Cole Hamels’ name bandied about in trade rumors should the team fall out of contention. The Phillies were beaten by the Pirates on Wednesday while the Nationals, Braves and Mets all emerged victorious.

Still, they received encouragement on Tuesday when it was announced that Utley would rejoin the team for Wednesday’s tilt with the Pirates. Utley wasted no time getting reacquainted with his home run trot, launching a solo shot in the first inning off of James McDonald, and finished the game with a 3-for-5 effort (two singles).

Ryan Howard is beginning the long road back with a rehab assignment that kicks off Thursday.

Are they done?