Afternoon update: Benson estimates he is one week behind; Gordon is Phils' No. 2 - or No. 1A - closer

Coaches and players were in and out pretty quickly today, as most were heading out to the team's annual golf tournament. No word on who the favorite is, though Mike Schmidt's team is supposed to do pretty well.

As for the news of the weekend, we still don't have an update on closer Brad Lidge. He had a 1 p.m. appointment for an MRI, so it remains to be seen if we'll hear anything in time for tomorrow's paper. As soon as we do, I'll get it up here. . .

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In the meantime, Charlie Manuel confirmed today that Tom Gordon would be the closer, with Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero setting up, if Lidge were to be sidelined for any extent of time. Gordon didn't want to talk about the possibility of becoming a closer. He's got as good a chance as any at getting to the World Series for the first time in his career, and he doesn't even want to entertain the possibility that Lidge might be sidelined.


Today marked a pretty big step in Kris Benson's recovery. The veteran righty estimated that he's a week behind the rest of the pitchers in camp, which really isn't that far behind at all. The big news to come out of his bullpen session was a pitch that he abandoned four years ago with the Mets. Benson threw 10-12 curve balls today, and hopes to re-introduce the pitch to his repetoire. He hasn't thrown the pitch since the end of the 2004 season, when he eliminated it from his arsenal because of velocity problems. When the Pirates drafted him out of Clemson No. 1 overall in 1996, the curve was a big weapon for him. He said after practice he hopes to have four pitches - fastball, change-up, slider, curve - when he finally gets back in live games.

Benson said he hopes he'll face some hitters the next time he throws, which should be in a few days. . .