You won't find many baseball players who handle the business in a more professional manner than Brad Lidge. So it should come as no surprise that the veteran reliever acknowledged the possibility that he will not return to his former role as closer and said he will be ready to pitch in any situation when he comes off the disabled list.
Ryan Madson has been dominant since assuming the role as closer, allowing six earned runs with 30 strikeouts and eight walks in 26 innings while converting all 13 of his save opportunities.
"To be honest, I've just been focusing on trying to get back," said Lidge, who had been rehabbing a strained rotator cuff in Clearwater, Fla., before a sore elbow sent him back to Philadelphia for a visit with team doctor Michael Ciccotti. "As I mentioned even before I left for Florida, [Madson's] been as good as anybody in the National League. He's been dominating and I obviously hope that continues and our team continues to win. That's our goal down there in the bullpen.
"I'm not sure how I'm going to fit back in or where I'm going to fit back in, but I know when I do get back I'm going to need a little bit of time to get my feet back wet again. Once that happens, hopefully I'll be able to jump into the fire in any different role and I'll be ready to close if need be or whatever else they ask of me. I'm going to make sure I'm ready, and I'm feeling pretty confident that when I get back, I'm going to be 100 percent."
Lidge's return is still uncertain. He had been aiming to be back in the bullpen by mid-June. But after a handful of appearances in extended spring training games, he developed some soreness in his elbow, which concerned the Phillies enough to bring him back to Philadelphia. Lidge said yesterday that Ciccotti told him the soreness is likely nothing more than the type of inflammation that often surfaces in spring training. The doctor administered a cortisone shot, and Lidge said he is hopeful that he will resume long-tossing and throwing bullpen sessions within the next week.
"Hopefully it will just be a small speed bump here and I will be able to get back to my rehab within not too long," Lidge said. "Hopefully just a couple more days, and then start throwing again. We were going pretty quick, because things were going pretty good. This just puts us on more of a realistic schedule than the early schedule."
Lidge, who is in the last year of his contract after spending the last 3 years as the team's closer, said his shoulder feels "great," and that he believes a return before the All-Star break is still a realistic goal.
Jimmy Rollins continues to believe that the knee bruise he suffered on Saturday will not result in a trip to the disabled list. The Phillies are less certain after seeing the results of an MRI, which revealed a deep bone bruise in the patella.
"He's got some bone bruising there and it's obviously going to cause some discomfort," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of the injury, which Rollins suffered Saturday when he fouled a ball off his knee in a loss to the Pirates. "We'll just see how he reacts over the next 24 to 48 hours."
Charlie Manuel said he is not concerned that Chase Utley's knee condition is affecting his throws to first base. Rather, the manager said, the handful of off-target throws Utley has made are a byproduct of rust from his long stint on the disabled list . . . Pitching coach Rich Dubee said righthander Kyle Kendrick will make his scheduled start tomorrow, although the team has not decided how it will handle its doubleheader against the Marlins a week from today.