In front of Ryan Howard's locker Thursday morning, a half-dozen pairs of shoes were strewn about.

There were cleats, sandals, sneakers and, of course, standing in the midst of all of them, one lone gray plastic boot.

The boot has been a symbol of the spring for the Phillies, anchored to Howard's left foot for nearly a month, serving as a constant reminder of the myriad of significant injuries that have befallen this team.