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Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Lidge says he's using demotion as motivation

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Brad Lidge isn't happy he has been reduced to a middle reliever in Houston.

"I'm definitely upset about losing my role after throwing in two games, after throwing in one save situation," Lidge told The Houston Chronicle. "Garner made the decision, and I will of course stand by it. He's my manager, and I'll do whatever he wants me to do. But that being said, I'm pretty ticked off about it. I guess the only thing I can do is use it as motivation."

Lidge was demoted Monday in favor of Dan Wheeler, a move made one day after Lidge gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wheeler is 1-for-1 in save opportunities since the move, but struggled Tuesday in a non-save situation against the Cubs.

Lidge has saved 29 or more games in each of the last three seasons for Houston but had a 16.20 ERA and a blown save entering Monday's game against the Chicago Cubs. The Astros started the season with five losses in six games.

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Appearing on GameNight on ESPN Radio, Astros catcher Brad Ausmus explained the flaw in Brad Lidge's mechanics that is causing him to struggle out of Houston's bullpen.
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"I wrestled with this all of yesterday," manager Phil Garner said. "I feel that I have to make this move for the benefit of the team. In the situation that we are in right now, we can't afford to lose any more ballgames late."

Lidge was 1-5 with a 5.28 ERA and 32 saves in 38 chances in 2006.

Garner left open the possibility Lidge could regain his job as closer.

"I don't know how much time this will take," Garner said Monday. "It may be that he throws three or four times and gets thrust back into the closing role."

Astros general manager Tim Purpura told The Chronicle that he's not looking to trade Lidge at this point.

"Obviously you're always doing an inventory of who you have and if you get into a situation where you have excess in a certain area you might look at that, but at this point I don't feel we're in that position. I'm not in any kind of a rush mode to move any player right now," Purpura told The Chronicle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.