Contreras was closer; Lidge was unavailable

Phillies reliever Jose Contreras pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the Phillies' 9-5 win over the Rockies. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)

Updated: 12:15 MST. . .

We didn't really get a straight answer tonight about why Jose Contreras was the team's closer, except that the Phillies "wanted to stay away from" Brad Lidge.

But the closer later told reporters from two web sites that he was suffering from stiffness in his right elbow, which was surgically-repaired this offseason and was part of the reason he spent the first month of the year on the disabled list.

"Today it didn't feel great," Lidge said, according to the team's web site. "I'm not worried. It's some of the things hopefully we won't have to deal with for very long. Out of surgery, here and there, there might be something like that. I guess it's pretty normal. That's what they told me. Hopefully I'll be ready to go tomorrow."

Contreras pitched a scoreless ninth inning, preserving a 9-5 win over the Rockies, the Phillies eighth in 10 games and their 20th in 32 this season (that's a backwards way of saying they have a 20-12 record). It was a non-save situation, but manager Charlie Manuel said afterward that Contreras would have gotten the call even if it was a save situation (Carlos Ruiz singled home the go-ahead run with one out in the ninth, then was followed by a three-run home run by pinch-hitter Ross Gload).

"We were actually trying to stay away from (Lidge)," Manuel said. "When we got the lead and everything, we were still going to use Contreras. I was still going Contreras. But Lidge can pitch and more than likely he'll be ready tomorrow. He's OK."

The natural follow-up question then came: Why were you staying away from Lidge?

"He was OK, but we were staying away from him tonight because he pitched yesterday," Manuel said. "I talked to (pitching coach Rich) Dubee before the game, he felt like we were trying to make sure we go pretty easy with him at first. He was wanting to pitch and everything. We just thought we'd kind of stay away from him. We wanted to stay away from him and Durbin."

Lidge recorded his first save of the season on Sunday, allowing a couple of hard-hit balls but pitching a 1-2-3 ninth in a 5-3 win over the Braves. He only threw eight pitches on Sunday, and was coming off a five-day layoff. Lidge has already pitched once on back-to-back days this year, throwing back-to-back scoreless innings against the Cardinals on May 3-4 and throwing 30 pitches in the process.

Contreras, meanwhile, was pitching on three straight days for the first time this season. He allowed a double, but retired the other three hitters he faced.

Durbin was obviously unavailable, having thrown 35 pitches in 2.1 innings on Saturday and Sunday.


Juan Castro made his first appearance in five games, playing the bottom of the ninth at short stop after Gload pinch-hit for Wilson Valdez, who earlier in the night hit into his fifth double play in 32 at-bats.

Castro has missed five games with what originally was labelled a hamstring strain, but is actually a strain in the back of the knee.

Manuel said he did not know if Castro would start Tuesday.


Carlos Ruiz went 4-for-5 with a home run and the go-ahead hit.