ATLANTA - For the first time since May 9, Brad Lidge was in a game for the Phillies.
He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning Monday with a 9-3 Atlanta Braves victory well in hand. But Lidge's appearance may have been the only silver lining in the team's latest defeat.
All three of his outs came on his slider. He hit 93 m.p.h. on his fastball. Eight of his 13 pitches were sliders.
"My slider feels real good right now, being able to throw it in or out or down," Lidge said. "That's very important to my game. My slider has been a lot better than last year."
Lidge has appeared in just five games this season because of several problems stemming from off-season surgeries on his knee and elbow.
Righthander Nelson Figueroa was designated for assignment to make room for Lidge.
As expected, Lidge was activated before Monday's game after completing one rehab outing with single-A Clearwater. He went on the disabled list retroactive to May 10 with right elbow inflammation.
"Things feel pretty good right now considering I was out for most of these first couple of months," Lidge said.
Lidge, who had elbow inflammation, will likely not be the closer right away for the Phillies. In his absence, Jose Contreras has saved three games with a 0.59 ERA.
"We'll work him in," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Lidge. "I'm not going to say how long it's going to be. It probably won't be very long."
Figueroa finished here?
The corresponding roster move involving Figueroa was a mild surprise. The 36-year-old pitcher said the demotion caught him off guard.
Figueroa pitched four times in May and went 18 days between appearances at one point. But he said Manuel was always up front with him, and they talked daily during the layoff.
Figueroa wasn't thrilled with his ever-shrinking role as the Phillies' long man, but he said he was understanding of the circumstances. On Monday, the Phillies decided Figueroa was expendable.
He was placed on waivers by the Phillies and will know in three days or less whether anyone has picked him up. In nine games with the Phils, Figueroa was 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA.
If he clears waivers, Figueroa said he'd have to think hard about accepting an assignment to triple A, meaning his time with the Phillies' organization could be over.
"I would imagine a guy with my experience and ability, I've done all I had to do 10 times over at the triple-A level," Figueroa said.
Demoting Figueroa is a sign the Phillies have confidence in young lefthander Antonio Bastardo, who has options left and could have been sent to triple-A Lehigh Valley without being put on waivers. In 13 games, Bastardo has a 4.00 ERA after allowing two runs Monday. Lefties are 2 for 17 against Bastardo, making him a decent second lefthanded option behind J.C. Romero.
"That's the way we decided to go," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.
Jayson Werth, mired in an 0-for-19 skid, rested for the second time in four games, and did not appear in a game for the first time all season.
"I looked at Werth and I think Werth needs a break," Manuel said. "He definitely needs to think about some things. We're going to do some work on his swing."
Manuel would not say if he would rest Werth again Tuesday. The manager plans to work with Werth in the batting cage before the game.
"I've been here before," Werth said Monday.
True. Last season, Werth had hitless streaks of 21 at-bats, 15 at-bats, and 12 at-bats. He has been streaky before.
"It comes and goes," said Werth, who is batting .295 with nine home runs. "It was pretty good there for a while."
Every team in Major League Baseball wore white caps to commemorate Memorial Day. The Phillies' caps had red brims. The same hats also will be worn July 4 and Sept. 11. . . . Placido Polanco was in Philadelphia to receive a cortisone shot in his bruised left elbow. It was not known when he would return to the team.
Brad Lidge returns and tosses a perfect 1-2-3 inning. D5.