Lefthander J.A. Happ, on the disabled list with a left forearm strain, was pleased with his progress after a 20-pitch bullpen session yesterday afternoon. "That's the best I've felt in a month," he said.

Rich Dubee was guardedly optimistic, but pointed out that the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year runner-up seemed to be progressing earlier before suffering a setback.

"It went fine. Just fastballs. Much better than last time, probably about 3 weeks ago," the pitching coach said. "We'll see how it responds the next couple of days and if all goes well we'll try to get him back on the mound in 3 or 4 days. It's always a big hurdle. This is where we got to last time, and it didn't respond very well. It responded much better today."

Lidge update

The Phillies announced that closer Brad Lidge, who is back on the disabled list with elbow stiffness, received a cortisone injection from club physician Michael Ciccotti last night. The decision was made in consultation with noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews after Lidge was examined by Dr. Ciccotti at Citizens Bank Park.

"Two days of letting [the cortisone] be absorbed and then start throwing," Lidge said when asked about his timetable. "It's been kind of frustrating. It's a setback. But it'sd a definite relief in that the last thing you'd want at this point is something surgical. And it makes it easier when we keep winning games the way we have.

"I hope as soon as I get off the disabled list I'll be ready to throw in a game."

The earliest that could happen: A week from today, against the Mets at Citi Field.

Valdez gone

Wilson Valdez had started nine straight games. The Phillies won seven of them. He had a couple big hits and manager Charlie Manuel specifically credited his defense with helping make the difference in Sunday night's win at Milwaukee.

Valdez was designated for assignment yesterday to make room on the roster for Jimmy Rollins, giving the team 10 days to trade him, get him through waivers or release him.

The Phillies would love to keep Valdez in the organization, but recognize that might not be possible. "He did good. I wanted to play him because he's got some ability. I don't know if we'll lose him or not. That's the chance you take," Manuel said.