Lidge's elbow barking again
But the Phillies clubhouse was oddly quiet, missing the usual music that pulses out of a bass-defying boombox next to Jimmy Rollins' locker. Perhaps there was a reason for the silence...
After the Phils 8-7 win over the Marlins, which put them back into first place for the first time since the final day of May, manager Charlie Manuel said Brad Lidge was unavailable to pitch because of a sore elbow.
"It's a little tender, I shouldn’t' say sore," Manuel said after explaining why Lidge wasn't used in the ninth with a one-run lead. "I think we'll rest him today, then we have Thursday off and then he should be fine."
This, of course, is not good news for the Phillies. In the last five weeks, Lidge had been pitching at his best since 2008. He has saved 14 of his last 16 opportunities.
But the beleaguered closer has rarely been able to escape injuries before or after the 2008 season. When he was traded to the Phillies in the fall of 2007, Lidge was walking on crutches after having his right knee scoped.
He had the knee worked on again before the '08 season, during spring training, and again last offseason.
Although he never attempted to use injuries as an excuse in 2009, when he led all of baseball with 11 blown saves, Lidge had elbow surgery when the season was over. He began the season on the DL.
Lidge has needed two cortisone shots on his elbow this season. He was placed on the DL again May 15.
But in the season's second half, Lidge has been as reliable as the Phillies could have hoped. With the exception of his July 31 nightmare in DC, when Ryan Zimmerman hit a walkoff, three-run home run off him, Lidge has helped the Phils finally get the back of their bullpen in order with Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero also pitching healthy and effective.
Now, the elbow pain returns with 22 games left in the regular season.
Here is what Lidge said after Tuesday's game.
"I’m not concerned. It's a little hyperextension. I pitched through it yesterday. There’s a little bit of pain there. It’s one of those things were they wanted to rest it today and tomorrow and we have an off-day Thursday. I’ll definitely be back for sure on Friday.
"But we just figured take two days right now as opposed to two weeks later. It’s different from what I’ve had before and it’s really not bad at all. Trying to throw through the pain may make it worse."
Did you see (team physician Michael) Ciccotti?
"Yeah. He was here and went over it again and said, ‘You hyper-extended your elbow a little bit and hopefully in a couple days you’ll be right back.'"
When did you first feel it happen?
"Two appearances ago."
"No. It really is minor. If we blow them out tonight and tomorrow night, I might have been able to sneak through the cracks. Fortunately for me, it’s not bad now and I guess now we just have one more game. The bullpen got it done tonight [JC Romero points to himself and says, 'I didn’t.'] Madson did a great job and everybody in front of him got it done."
How did it happen, on one pitch?
"Yeah. There was a fastball that got away from me that I just kind of overthrew. It was two outings ago. It was the second to last pitch, so I was able to finish the inning and throw again last night. It was still kind of painful and kind of grinded through last night a little bit. And I kind of figured that instead of grinding through the rest of the season, that should be all I need."
What is the diagnosis?
"It’s so minor they’re not even doing that. They didn’t need to label it other than a day or two of rest. I still haven’t ruled out possibly pitching tomorrow if it feels good enough. But I know they feel like they want me to take another day. I’ll play catch tomorrow and hopefully it will be just about all better."