Mar 252011
Phillies closer Brad Lidge

Phillies closer Brad Lidge

By Justin Adkins:

It looks like Chase Utley won’t be lacking for company as he sits the bench come opening day.  Phillies closer Brad Lidge confirmed today that he will be joining Utley on the disabled list to start the season.

Lidge cited pain in the back of his shoulder as the reason, not to be confused with the biceps tendonitis issue previously disclosed for why Lidge wasn’t pitching.  He hadn’t thrown in a game since March 11 before taking the mound yesterday against the Twins, where he struggled.

“I’m a little concerned, because I haven’t had shoulder problems in the past,” Lidge said, via the Zo Zone.

You’re not the only one concerned, Brad.

Lidge will be examined in Clearwater on Saturday by team physician Michael Ciccotti, followed by an MRI next week in Philly.  The 34 year-old closer hopes to return by mid-April, but wants to get some rest now so things don’t get worse.

“There was always a little pain in the back [of the shoulder], which we thought was from the biceps tendonitis,” Lidge said. “I’m not really familiar with the shoulder. I haven’t had shoulder issues before, at least not for a long time. So I’m not really familiar with the discomfort and pain I’m having.”

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. isn’t exactly creating a great set of positive expectations.

“It’s all a concern, of course. We don’t think it’s going to be a long-term issue, but it could be.”

Amaro indicated that either Ryan Madson or Jose Contreras will take over the closer’s role in Lidge’s absence.

“Whoever we think is going to be better,” Amaro said.  “This is all part of the game.  Nobody wants any injuries, but we’ll deal with them.” 

“I’m not surprised. It’s just something that happens. As long as we can get them better, I think we have the personnel to pick up the slack, which we’ve done before. Of course we want all of our guys on our club, but we can’t do much about it other than having guys step up and perform in place of those guys.”

If Lidge had actually held up through spring training, it would have been a surprise — in the past four years, Lidge has started the season on the DL three times.

“It’s very frustrating,” Lidge said. “Yesterday I was really pretty upset, just because coming into camp this year, I felt really good. I don’t know where along the line I did it. I’m sure it was pretty early in camp. It’s just been very frustrating that it hasn’t gotten a lot smoother.”

Lidge is in the last year of his contract, and with his inconsistency and body breaking down, Madson will be auditioning for a possible permanent job, maybe even starting this year.

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