Lidge feels fine, will throw in a game on Monday

Brad Lidge says he will pitch in a game on Monday. (David Swanson / Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jamie Moyer is on the mound right now in a B game and he has allowed two baserunners (a single and HBP) in three innings. It's game two of this three-city, three-game stretch in less than 24 hours. Next up is a Grapefruit League game at Dunedin against Toronto at 1 p.m.

But the biggest news comes not from a game this morning, but a live batting practice session thrown by Brad Lidge on a back field at the Carpenter Complex. Lidge threw 21 pitches against live hitters for the first time this spring and said everything went well.

So Lidge says he will pitch in a game on Monday -- whether it is the Grapefruit League contest in Bradenton against the Pirates or a minor league game, Lidge isn't sure. But the Phillies must be pleased with Lidge's progress.

After Lidge threw to hitters (Chris Duffy and Wilson Valdez), he also participated in pitcher's fielding practice for the second time this spring.

"It actually felt like I was in spring training today," Lidge said.

Lidge will throw another batting practice session before appearing in the game. He was pleased with his control this morning.

"The slider, the spin was quick enough to get some swings on it," Lidge said. "When the arm speed comes around, everything gets a little crisper. That will happen. That's just a matter of pitching and getting out there as much as possible. For me, what I'll be working on now is maintaining control as my arm speed gets going. Right now I really feel good about being able to throw the ball on the other side of the plate at a good angle."

When Lidge came to camp, he said he was about two weeks behind everyone. He said he has shaved some time off that and would not rule out being ready for opening day. On Tuesday, pitching coach Rich Dubee said Lidge was "still on the radar screen" to be ready for opening day.

But that's still to be decided.

"Even if I feel good enough to go on opening day, they might be like, 'We can tell your arm speed needs one or two more outings and then we'll feel comfortable with that,'" Lidge said.

"It's really a question of how fast things come as we get going. There is enough time but coming off a knee surgery and an elbow surgery I'm not sure if my body is going to get there as fast as that time. It's definitely a possibility. You can't rule it out for sure. My guess, even if it isn't opening day, I really think no more than a week into the season."


We're about to make the short trip over to Dunedin for today's Grapefruit League action. A lot of regulars will be there, too.

1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Shane Victorino 8
3. Placido Polanco 5
4. Raul Ibanez 7
5. Jayson Werth 9
6. Greg Dobbs 3
7. John Mayberry DH
8. Wilson Valdez 4
9. Carlos Ruiz 2

Cole Hamels will start opposite Kyle Drabek for the Blue Jays. Drabek was supposed to be the first reliever for Toronto but will now start. Ryan Vogelsong, J.C. Ramirez, David Herndon, Ehren Wasserman and Mike Zagurski are also scheduled to pitch.