Lidge will stay in Fla. when team goes north

Brad Lidge, seen here throwing earlier this spring, will stay in Florida when the team heads north. (David Swanson / Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- After pitching an inning in a single-A minor-league game, Brad Lidge walked to an adjacent field at the Carpenter Complex and began long tossing. He said he threw about 30 pitches "as far as I could."

It's a good sign, Lidge said, that his arm strength is returning.

But when the Phillies break camp and head north on Thursday, Lidge will be staying in Florida.

"I'm sure I will," the Phillies closer said. "It seems very likely."

Lidge said he hasn't been told that he is going to the disabled list to begin the season, but that appears to be a mere formality at this point. Earlier in the week, pitching coach Rich Dubee said Lidge probably won't pitch in a Grapefruit League game before the Phillies break camp.

Right now, the Phillies want him to pitch in as many games as he can. Lidge is throwing every other day in minor-league games. He allowed one run after a leadoff walk against Toronto's single-A team on Saturday morning. He struck out two batters, one on a slider.

"My last outing a couple days ago, my arm got tired very fast in the game," Lidge said. "Today, it stayed strong through the inning. That means it's going to start getting where we need to get. There is still a little ways to go."

Lidge said he doesn't necessarily need to pitch a rehab game at a higher level before returning to the Phillies.

"In '08, I never did that," Lidge said. "I threw down here and then they called me up. It's not a matter so much of who I'm facing as it is what's coming out of my arm. We'll know when I'm ready whether I'm in the Florida State League or Reading or Lehigh."