Phillies confident Lidge will be ready

In 23 days, the Phillies have played 24 games. Ten of those games were decided by two or fewer runs, stretching the reliable arms Charlie Manuel has in his bullpen.

"We definitely need a day off," the manager said before Wednesday's game.

Finally, on Thursday, the Phillies can rest. A team bus is scheduled to leave for New York in the early evening, but many players won't travel north until Friday morning. They'll savor the off day.

The bullpen, specifically Brad Lidge, is grateful for the timing. Lidge, who was not available the past two days with soreness in his right elbow, played catch before Wednesday's game.

The Phillies are hopeful Lidge will be ready Friday after three days of rest. Lidge was unavailable for comment before the game.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee said he was "very confident" Lidge will be at his disposal. Why?

"The way he's talking," Dubee said, "and the way the doctors are talking."

Of course, Lidge is typically rosy when discussing his health. Any injury to his elbow causes pause simply because the closer had off-season surgery to repair the elbow and twice went on the disabled list this season with complications from the surgery.

Manuel said he trusts his pitcher.

"I think he knows exactly how he feels and how much his arm hurts," Manuel said. "For me, you kind of go with what he says. Right now, he says he just has some tenderness and a little soreness. That can be common because he's been working. Ever since he came back in June and started pitching on a regular basis, especially here lately, he's been out there a lot."

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