Brandon Phillips saw his hand surgeon Thursday and was given clearance to begin swinging the bat. That's the last step in Phillips' return from surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left thumbs.

"He's swinging in the cage off a tee, so it's baby steps," trainer Paul Lessard said. "But it's good baby steps."

Lessard's concern is more with Phillips in the field. Phillips has been taking ground balls with a flat glove. Getting him into his regular glove and some sort of protection is key.