More than four hours before Friday night’s game, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. began his tour of injured pitchers.
First, he stopped in right field to watch closer Brad Lidge play catch for the first time since receiving a cortisone shot Monday for his inflamed right elbow. Then, while talking on his cell phone, he wandered to the Phillies bullpen where lefthander J.A. Happ (strained left forearm) was throwing his second bullpen session. There is light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the Phillies’ rash of early-season injuries.
Both injured pitchers said they were encouraged by the progress they made Friday. But both said there is plenty of work to do.
For Happ, his return will not come until well into June. He said he hopes to throw two more bullpen sessions before beginning a minor-league rehab assignment. He has yet to throw his change-up or any breaking pitch off a mound.
"It felt good," Happ said of his most recent session.
His next bullpen session will come early next week, possibly Monday.
Lidge is not ready to go off a mound yet after playing catch Friday. He did say the inflammation in his elbow is gone but some soreness remained just because it was the first time in nearly a week he had picked up a ball.
Lidge is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday and it’s becoming increasingly likely the righthander is not ready by that point.
"We're just going day to day right now to be honest," Lidge said. "They haven’t told me anything. Today was the first day and it went good."
Infielder Wilson Valdez cleared waivers and was outrighted to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Valdez was designated for assignment when Jimmy Rollins was activated from the disabled list.