It does not appear that Brad Lidge will be ready for opening day, but he plans to return shortly thereafter.
Lidge saw his first game action of the spring today, following offseason elbow and knee procedures. He pitched the first inning of a minor league game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Carpenter Complex. He allowed run on three hits, said he was encouraged to feel healthy afterwards, and basically ruled out a return in time for the opener at Washington on April 5. His new goal is to pitch in a road series against the Houston Astros April 9-11; if that does not happen, Lidge said he will "definitely" be active for the Phils' home opener on April 12, barring any unforeseen setbacks.
"I guess I'm going to hope for the Houston series, because it doesn't look like I'm going to be ready for the opener," Lidge said.
The pitcher was mostly pleased with yesterday's appearance. He threw 16 pitches, about six of which were sliders, and explained that he was focused on building arm strength rather than getting outs with his breaking ball
"For my first outing, I would say I was pretty pleased," Lidge said. "My knee felt real strong. Couple location problems, command is not really spectacular right now. My arm speed--I'm pleased with where my arm is. It's just going to take however many outings to get behind the ball and get through it to get the velocity going. But in terms of any problems, no. That was very encouraging that there were no problems.
On this off-day for the Phils, J.A. Happ pitched in a different minor league game against still more Blue Jays. In five innings, he allowed five hits and two earned runs. Happ walked two and struck out three, throwing 77 pitches (41 strikes).