Phils reliever Lidge could pitch in minors next week

Phils reliever Lidge could pitch in minors next week
June 29, 2011, 11:15 pm
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Posted: 7:15 p.m.

By Jim Salisbury

Brad Lidge is almost ready to give it another try.

The veteran Phillies reliever says he is healthy after missing spring training and the first half of the season with assorted shoulder and elbow ailments. Now its time get on the mound in some minor-league games, build some arm strength, and see how far away he is from returning to major-league action.

Lidge threw 35 pitches in the bullpen at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday afternoon. He plans to test himself in the bullpen again on Friday and if all goes well could be pitching in a minor-league game by Monday or Tuesday.

Everything right now is good, Lidge said. Its just a matter of strengthening my arm.

Lidge would likely need anywhere from eight to 12 appearances in the minors before being ready. But even he acknowledged that his timetable is uncertain.

Id like to be back sometime between the all-star break and the end of July, he said. But Ive never really been out this long, so I dont know how long its going to take to build up. If Im back before the end of July that still gives me two good months of ball in the regular season.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he hoped to have Lidge back by the end of July, if all went well.

It is unclear what role Lidge would pitch in when he returns. Manager Charlie Manuel is on record as saying that Ryan Madson would continue to close, but he is on the disabled list with inflammation in his right hand. Madson could be back as soon as Monday. Antonio Bastardo and Mike Stutes will handle closing duties while Madson is out.

Starter Joe Blanton, out with an elbow injury, continues to rehab in Florida. There is no official timetable for Blantons return, but its likely he wouldnt be back until the end of July, at the earliest. Amaro hopes Roy Oswalt, out with a back injury, can be back in late July. Oswalt will be examined by a back specialist Friday in Dallas.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at Follow him on Twitter @JSalisburyCSN.

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