NEW YORK - Brad Lidge does not like being on the disabled list, but the Phillies' closer said yesterday that he understood the team's decision to place him there.
"Obviously I'm not thrilled to be on the DL," said Lidge, who was put on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee Tuesday, retroactive to June 7. "But they brought me in and told me, 'We're not letting you make a decision. This is what we think is best for you and the team.' "
Asked directly if he was on board with the decision, Lidge said: "At first I wasn't thrilled about it. That being said, I'm going to look at it as an opportunity to get my knee 100 percent better. The way I am right now about it, I agree with it.
"I don't want to say that I slightly disagreed with this decision. That's not exactly true. I wasn't thrilled with what they wanted to do, but I knew it was for the best."
Lidge is 0-3 this season with a 7.27 earned run average, 13 saves, and six blown saves. Last season, he was a perfect 41 for 41 in regular-season save opportunities, and 7 for 7 in the postseason. After Lidge blew two consecutive save chances against the Dodgers in Los Angeles last weekend, the Phillies decided to place him on the disabled list. Lidge underwent surgery on the same knee during spring training last year, missing the beginning of the season.
The righthander yesterday visited team physician Michael Ciccotti, who said that an additional MRI exam - Lidge has already had two this year - was unnecessary and that his knee had suffered no structural damage. Ciccotti gave Lidge a cortisone shot and recommended rest and rehabilitation.
Lidge hopes that an approximately two-week absence will be adequate to lessen the inflammation in his knee, which had improved and regressed at various points this season. "The goal is going to be pretty close to 15 days," he said. "There are days when I feel better than other days. . . . It's painful for a little bit, then it gets better."
He said the knee pain caused him to alter his mechanics, which threatened to lead to further injury. "When I go down close to 90 degrees on my push-off leg, it's hurting," he said. "Sometimes I've had to compensate mechanically for it, and you don't want to go there, because you could end up hurting your arm."
Though he made comments to the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News last winter that the post-World Series pileup on the mound aggravated his knee, Lidge downplayed that event as a cause yesterday. "Underneath that pile, my knee definitely did feel like it was up above my head somehow," he said, smiling. "But I wouldn't have been able to work out all winter and come back. . . . That's not what happened."
He said that surgery next off-season was unlikely and that he actually felt better than in mid-April, when the injury first cropped up. "Overall, it's a little bit better [now]," he said. "I don't think it's the worst it has been."
His immediate goal is to remain sidelined long enough to heal, despite a strong desire to compete.
"That's going to be the biggest challenge," he said. "Wanting to go back out there vs. making sure I really am ready. Watching the ninth inning come, and it's a one-, two-, three-run lead and I'm not out there. It's going to be very tough."