Lidge discouraged by elbow stiffness

RON CORTES/Staff Photographer

DENVER — Brad Lidge has always been an optimist when it comes to any injury. He’s pitched (sometimes unsuccessfully) through his share of ailments. And rarely does he admit anything is wrong.

Lidge was not available to close Monday night after he began feeling some stiffness in his arm a few days ago. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel would only go as far as to say he was trying to stay away from Lidge.

A few hours before Tuesday’s game, Lidge said he wasn’t concerned.

“It’s fine,” he said. “I just had a little stiffness and we wanted to be cautionary.”

A few minutes later, Lidge walked outside to the cold Colorado air and played catch with Chad Durbin. He didn’t appear to exert his right arm very much.

Upon returning to the clubhouse, Lidge was asked how it went. He was visibly discouraged.

“It didn’t really feel like I wanted it to,” he said.

Those are scary words for a Phillies team that is already shorthanded in the bullpen without Ryan Madson (broken toe) on the 60-day disabled list.

Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said the team will wait and see on Lidge’s progress.

In four games since returning from the disabled list on April 30, Lidge has allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings.

“It’s something to monitor day to day and see how he feels,” Proefrock said. “Remember, he’s only made four appearances since he’s been back. None of this is ever going to be a straight line progression.”