While he still has a way to go before being fully recovered from his severely sprained left ankle, Thursday nevertheless represented a significant step forward for Rickie Weeks.

The Milwaukee Brewers' second baseman was reinstated from the disabled list after a final meeting with the team's medical staff not long before the start of a big four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Miller Park.

Weeks will be eased back into things as both a pinch-hitter and late-inning defensive replacement, with Jerry Hairston Jr. remaining the de facto starter. Even so, the mere fact Weeks has been cleared for any kind of action should be a boost for both player and team.

"Knowing Rickie, it's important," manager Ron Roenicke of Weeks' return to action despite the limited role. "He's been great, but you know Rickie wants to go out there and play. When he's active and he knows he's a guy that can contribute, he needs to go out and do that."