Ryan Howard hopes to begin an official rehab assignment in the next week.

Howard said as much in a podcast posted on Thursday on his blog, ryanhoward6.com. The All-Star first baseman said he sets smaller goals for himself, and his current goals include being able to run the bases and play defense comfortably.

Howard, who has not yet played this season after rupturing his left Achilles in the National League Division Series in October, has been in playing in simulated games and facing pitching in Clearwater, Fla. Once a player begins an official rehabilitation assignment, he has 20 days to be activated by the Major League club, barring a setback.

"I'm very optimistic, looking at hopefully being able to start a rehab assignment here, hopefully in the next week or so," Howard said in the podcast. "So then I can actually get back to out playing games and starting to get out there on the field and working my way up to Philadelphia."