Command goes, but not confidence for Lidge

Brad Lidge long tosses before his appearance with the Reading Phillies on Thursday night. (Marc Narducci/Staff)

TRENTON -- Brad Lidge says he has his health. He insists that his fastball is getting more and more MPH. So Lidge says he wasn’t going to allow one poor outing get him down, because he sees too many positives in his comeback from a shoulder injury that has sidelined him all season.

Lidge feels he will be back with the Phillies by July 22 against San Diego. That is his target date. Yet one would like to see him show more than he did while pitching for Reading in Thursday’s 9-5 loss the host Trenton Thunder at Waterfront Park.

In just 2/3 of an inning Lidge allowed two runs, both earned, on one hit and one walk. He also hit two batters and threw three wild pitches.

It was by far the worst of his five rehab appearances this season. Lidge said his fastball was the best it’s been, in the 89-90 mile per hour range. He said he feels good health-wise.

Now it’s all about command, which didn’t feel or look very good.

As usual, Lidge was a stand-up person after a disappointing performance. And he insists his confidence isn’t shot by one poor outing.

“My command is already better than it was with my fastball,” Lidge said. “Tonight it wasn’t quite as good but my first four outings it’s been really good.”

Lidge is looking forward to improving in his next three rehab outings, two that will come on consecutive days, Saturday and Sunday at Trenton.

“In eight outings if in one my command isn’t good, it doesn’t mean my command isn’t good it means I had an off night.”

Lidge then caught himself.

“You want to have no off nights, that is goal,” he said.

So he didn’t meet the goal, but Lidge insists that things are going well.

He maintains his shoulder feels good, his fastball is getting faster and everything is looking up.

He’s right, nobody should panic over one bad outing in a Double-A rehab game. On the same front, nobody should assume that he is going to get Major League hitters out with regularity until he can put away the minor leaguers.

That’s why these next three rehab appearances should be very interesting to say the least.

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