After missing more than half the season, Phillies closer Brad Lidge is finally back. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today that Lidge has been activated and could pitch tonight. Lidge is obviously happy and ready to go.
“You hear guys talk about the four days rest for the All-Star break, I’ve got four months of rest,” Lidge said, per phillysportsdaily.com.
But despite being a long-time, World Series-winning veteran, Lidge still gets pumped like a little league kid.
“I had the butterflies in my stomach,” he said, regarding the drive to the ballpark.
For Lidge, this is the first step in his comeback, but it’s a big one.
“My goal is to shake the rust off as quickly as possible,” Lidge said. “I want to get in as many games as possible, as fast as possible.”
And the opening line of this piece is actually incorrect, as Lidge technically is no longer the Phils’ closer.
“We’ll ease him in,” Charlie Manuel said. “He’s not gonna close games right now. We want to see him get some work.”
That job currently belongs to Antonio Bastardo, the latest to fill the role after injuries to Lidge, Jose Contreras, and Ryan Madson forced the Phillies to use the young lefty. Of course, that doesn’t mean Lidge will never get the job back.
“He’s going to pitch when the opportunity is right,” said pitching coach Rich Dubee.
For his part, Lidge still wants to be the man.
“I want to eventually get in late innings of close games,” Lidge said. “But, whenever Charlie needs me, I’m willing to throw.”
And in news almost as good as Lidge being back, to make room for on the roster the Phillies designated ineffective reliever Danys Baez for assignment. This season Baez, 33, was 2-4 with a 6.25 ERA. Over the past two seasons with the Phillies he was 5-8 with a 5.81 ERA in 80 games. Aside from that one night where he pitched five great innings in the Phillies 19-inning marathon, Baez has regularly been pretty horrible. Good riddance.
PhillySportsCentral.com – Philadelphia sports news, rumors, blogs, & message board discussion forums