The reports on Brad Lidge continue to come back positive. The closer threw a bullpen session today, and is expected to be ready to pitch Saturday, when he is eligible to come off the disabled list.
"We think he should be ready," general manager Pat Gillick said.
If Lidge pitches in Cincinnati Sunday, he'll be a couple days shy of being six weeks post-op. The right-hander had arthroscopic knee surgery Feb. 25. The Phillies originally put a three-to-six week timetable on his return. Lidge had said he thought he'd be ready to pitch Opening Day, but the Phillies chose to be cautious.
When Lidge comes back, it obviously means that someone else will have to go. That someone else could be infielder Wes Helms. There is a chance the Phillies trade Helms to one of a couple of teams who are looking for infield help. The Phillies aren't expecting to get a major leaguer in return for Helms, so that would open up a roster spot.
Gillick said he wasn't sure whether the Phillies would keep 11 or 12 pitchers on the roster throughout the season.
"That's not etched in stone," Gillick said. "We might fluctuate between 11 and 12. that just depends on where we are at that particular moment."