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Friday, March 25, 2011
Brad Lidge's season likely to start on DL

By Tim Kurkjian
ESPN The Magazine

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The injury-filled spring for the Philadelphia Phillies got even worse Friday when closer Brad Lidge acknowledged that he won't be ready for Opening Day because of soreness in the back of his shoulder.

Lidge
Lidge

"We're optimistic and hoping that it will be only a couple of weeks, and not much past that," Lidge said Friday. "It looks like we'll rest it for a week, then play catch for a week, then do a couple of bullpens and see how it feels."

Lidge pitched Thursday against the Minnesota Twins, but he felt pain deep in the back of his shoulder after the game. He will see a doctor in Clearwater on Saturday, then have an MRI on Monday or Tuesday in Philadelphia after the club returns home from spring training Monday.

"I've never had shoulder issues before. This is frustrating because I felt so good when I came into camp," said Lidge, who had a mild case of biceps tendinitis this spring, but said Friday that that issue "is feeling better."

But his shoulder isn't. "I can pitch at 80 percent, but when I crank it up past that, it's not feeling great," he said. "We have to get this resolved."

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said it's likely that Lidge would begin the season on the disabled list.

"We don't think it's serious, but we're going to shut him down for a while. We don't think it's a long-term issue, but it could be," Amaro said.

With Lidge hurt, the role likely would go to Ryan Madson or Jose Contreras, Amaro said.

Madson pitched the eighth inning and Contreas pitched the ninth inning in the Phillies' 3-1 win over Atlanta Friday afternoon. But Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he hasn't settled on a one pitcher to handle the closing duties.

"No. I haven't even thought about it," Manuel said. "I know what they can do. ... I know both of them. I've got an idea of what they can do. And they're very capable of doing the job."

Lidge's injury is one of several this spring for the Phillies. Right fielder Domonic Brown broke his hand and likely won't be back until sometime in May. Second baseman Chase Utley likely will start the season on the disabled list, Amaro said Thursday, and could be out until May, if not longer.

Tim Kurkjian is a senior Major League Baseball writer for ESPN The Magazine. Information from ESPN.com senior baseball writer Jayson Stark was used in this report.