Brad Lidge hopes to be back on the mound in a Grapefruit League game in three or four days, which would enable him to log about four more appearances before Opening Day.

Lidge already has five appearances under his belt. He has allowed five runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and two walks in four innings. He said he is confident he will be ready for the season opener.

Lidge threw off a mound today for the first time since the Phillies shut him down with biceps tendinitis earlier this week.

He said the inflammation in his arm is gone, and that he did not experience any soreness during the session.

"It feels a lot better now," Lidge said. "I haven't cranked it up to 100 percent yet. I threw about an 80 or 90 percent (effort) bullpen."

Lidge has had trouble gaining velocity this spring, sitting in the 86-to-87 MPH range. Last season, he usually sat between 90 and 92 MPH.

"My pop will never be there until the first game I'm closing in the regular season," Lidge said. "That's how it's been for the last 10 years."

Lidge said he thinks the biceps tendinitis was caused by poor mechanics: his body was flying open to the first base side during his delivery to home, putting extra strain on the biceps near the shoulder.

He said he expects to throw a max-effort bullpen before finally getting back on the mound. He last appeared in a game on a week ago in Sarasota.

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