Ryan Madson said he's sorry, but he can't take back the momentary fit of anger that landed him on the disabled list any more than he can take back a pitch after a batter lines it into the seats.
As a result, instead of having the Phillies' bullpen pieces all in place for the first time this season, manager Charlie Manuel must piece together the setup innings just as he has all season until further notice. The only difference is that Brad Lidge, newly activated after rehabbing knee and elbow surgeries, takes over the closer's role Madson kept warm since the season opened.
Madson, upset after blowing a save opportunity in the 10th inning Wednesday against the Giants at AT & T Park, became further aggravated when he slipped going down the stairs that lead from the dugout to the clubhouse. He lashed out at the first object he saw, kicking a heavy metal chair, and broke his right toe.
"That just set me off," the righthander, wearing a knee-high black walking boot, acknowledged yesterday. "I'm frustrated. I'm embarrassed. I let down my teammates, and I let down the fans. So I feel terrible about that. That's probably the worst part.
"I've gotten upset before, but never broken a bone. It's just one of those things. I took out my frustrations in the wrong way. I learned from it, and I won't do it again."
Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock wasn't sure how long Madson would be out. He guessed that, since the Phillies want him 100 percent healthy before letting him throw to avoid a possible arm injury, and because he'll have to go on a rehab assignment, it likely will be more than 15 days.
Complicating the matter is that the injury is on Madson's push-off foot. Madson said the positive note is that he can continue to do some exercises.
"Arm, shoulder, abs. I can stay in shape," he said.
The Phillies started the season with Lidge and J.C. Romero (elbow) on the disabled list. Romero was activated April 22. The Phillies also have been without righthander Joe Blanton all season, and put lefthander J.A. Happ and shortstop Jimmy Rollins on the DL since the season began.
Manuel remained philosophical. "It's just one of those things that happens," he said. "He was very apologetic. But the game goes on. I want him pitching, and I want him on our team and all that. But if it happens, it happens."
Lefthander Antonio Bastardo, who had been optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley to make room for Lidge, was quickly recalled.
Lidge last pitched in a big-league game in the World Series in November, so he was eager to get going.
"It's been kind of a grueling last month. Rehabbing is not fun mentally. You want to be out there helping your team," he said. "I'm thrilled to be back and anxious to go out there and help us. I feel good. I feel healthy."
Lidge said his fastball was 91 to 93 mph. He expected the adrenaline from playing in real games would to add at least a couple of miles per hour, but good command is his priority.
Lidge's return turned out to be a mopup ninth in the Phillies' 9-1 loss to the Mets. The first batter, Rod Barajas, homered off the pole in left. With one out, he gave up a sharp single to Angel Pagan, then was taken out. The scoreboard radar said his fastball topped out at 92.
The Phillies haven't announced their starters for the Cardinals series, which begins Monday, but it seems likely that Joe Blanton and Cole Hamels will start the first two games, but not necessarily in that order . . . Charlie Manuel is not surprised the Mets have played so well recently. "Not at all. I've been watching them," he said. "They've been getting pitching and they've been wanting to play. I was very impressed last year at the All-Star Game with K-Rod [Felix Rodriguez] and [Johan] Santana. They come across as very mentally tough and determined they're going to get you out. I like that. In this game, when you want to play, downright just love to play, you can accomplish way more than you'll ever dream. That's the whole key." *