Lidge throws inning in Double-A game
Closer running out of time to be ready for regular season
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Brad Lidge looks at the calendar and sees just 18 more days before Opening Day.
Time is short.
Lidge -- who allowed three hits and one run in one inning in a Double-A Spring Training game Thursday against the Blue Jays at the Carpenter Complex -- figures he needs at least nine more appearances before he is ready to pitch in the regular season. If he makes his second appearance Saturday, he would not be ready Opening Day on April 5 against the Nationals in Washington.
"It's going to be really tough to be ready for the opener," Lidge said afterward in the Phillies' clubhouse at Bright House Field. "In my mind, I'm still shooting for it, but I don't know if that's realistic."
He said he definitely would like to be ready for the April 12-15 series against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park, but is aiming to be ready for the April 9-11 series in Houston.
If Lidge opens the season on the disabled list, the Phillies could backdate it to March 26, meaning he would not be eligible to play until April 10.
"I want to be out there as much as I can, but we've got a deep bullpen," Lidge said. "Obviously, we've got guys that can get it done while J.C. [Romero] and I are getting our arm speed back. If we're on a bubble team, and we had to be ready from Day 1, that's one thing. But I think our team can cover just about anybody at any position for a week or two. That's the fortunate part of being on a team as good as us."
Lidge is behind schedule after having offseason elbow and knee surgeries.
2010 Spring Training - Major League Baseball
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Lidge threw 16 pitches, five or six of them sliders. Right fielder Domonic Brown ended the inning by throwing out a runner at the plate.
Lidge is not throwing as hard as he will be during the season. He is also not throwing his slider as much, in an effort to build arm strength.
"All in all, for my first outing, I would say I was pretty pleased," he said. "My knee felt real strong. A couple location problems. The command isn't really spectacular right now. I'm pleased with where my arm is. It's just going to take however many more outings to get behind the ball and get through it, to get the velocity going. But in terms of problems, no. I was very encouraged there were no problems.
"I'm trying to develop arm speed right now. There are going to be times when I go to my good slider to get a swing and a miss on an 0-2 pitch, but I've got to throw fastballs right now. So I've got to force myself to do it, even if it means they get a hit here or there. I'm not really concerned about that. I'm concerned about getting my arm speed to keep progressing."
If Lidge is not ready to open the season, Ryan Madson would handle the closing duties.
Happ throws: Left-hander J.A. Happ threw five innings in a Triple-A game at the Carpenter Complex. He allowed five hits, two runs and two walks. He struck out three.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.