PHILADELPHIA -- Charlie Manuel had said he wanted Brad Lidge to pitch in non-save situations before he returned to closing duties.
But after Lidge allowed one hit and struck out two in the ninth inning in Monday's 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park, Lidge could be closing games soon. At least that is how Manuel sounded.
"His stuff was better tonight," Manuel said. "Yeah, tonight he looked ready. His stuff was better. His slider was better. His fastball was better. Everything about it was better."
Lidge's fastball hovered in the 93-95 mph range, and he showed a nice slider, which he threw for strikes.
"I definitely felt real good tonight," Lidge said. "I feel ready, but I won't take anything for granted. I'll be ready to throw whenever they want me to throw. That being said, tonight was the first night where we kind of went out and just threw four-seam fastball and slider and had some good results with it. It really felt like it came out of my hand better than it has in a long time."
Manuel said left-hander J.C. Romero, who also came back following offseason elbow surgery, is "close to being ready to pitch an inning, you know what I mean? Or four hitters. I think he's getting very close. I think he's definitely ready to go in the eighth or the ninth inning."
Werth back in Phils lineup, swinging hot bat
PHILADELPHIA -- Jayson Werth returned to the lineup Monday after leaving the game before the eighth inning Sunday because of cramping in his legs.
Werth doubled in the fifth inning to reach base safely (hit or walk) in each of the team's first 25 games this season. It is the longest streak for the Phillies since the live-ball era began in 1920. Dolph Camili reached base safely in 23 consecutive games in 1936. Hall of Famer Chuck Klein reached base safely in 23 consecutive games in 1938.
Werth also hit a solo homer in the seventh inning.
Pujols: Howard 'deserves every penny'
PHILADELPHIA -- Since Ryan Howard signed a five-year, $125 million contract extension April 26, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has been asked constantly about his next contract.
Pujols is set to become a free agent following the 2011 season, and figures to make more than Howard.
"I don't want to talk about comparisons," Pujols told reporters before Monday's series opener against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. "I think people are kind of disrespecting him. The focus should be on him, signing the big contract. This is his time. And all you hear about is what I'm getting, or what I'm going to get, or if that was setting the bar for me. I don't think that's fair."
Pujols is arguably the best player in baseball, while Howard is arguably the best pure-power hitter in the game.
"I think people need to enjoy the contract he has, because he deserves every penny," Pujols said. "He put the numbers in this tough league to deserve what he got. And I think Philadelphia was fair to him."
Howard entered Monday hitting .291 with seven doubles, one triple, five home runs and 18 RBIs. He had struck out 21 times in 103 at-bats, which is once every 4.9 at-bats. He had struck out once every 3.1 at-bats before this season.
"I think having a contract can help him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I don't think it's going to hurt him," because it will help Howard relax.
Phillies seem to have Pujols' number
PHILADELPHIA -- Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols hit just .190 (4-for-21) with one homer and two RBIs in five games against the Phillies last season, and .150 (3-for-20) with one RBI in six games against them in 2008.
"Well, then why don't we not talk about it?" Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'm not superstitious. I just know how good he is."
On-field incident with fan under investigation
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies and police are investigating an incident during Monday night's Cardinals-Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, during which a fan ran onto the field and was taken down by a police officer with a Taser gun, according to reports.
In front of a sellout crowd, in the bottom of the eighth, the fan -- wearing a black Phillies hat, red Phillies T-shirt and khaki shorts -- hopped a fence, eluded two security officers and was eventually tasered, sending him to the ground immediately.
"This is the first time that a Taser gun has been used by Philadelphia police to apprehend a field jumper," Phillies spokeswoman Bonnie Clark said. "The Police Department is investigating this matter, and the Phillies are discussing with them whether in future situations this is an appropriate use of force under these circumstances. That decision will be made public."
Running onto the field is a crime, but fans are usually tackled to the ground. Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said the Police Department's internal affairs unit will open an investigation to determine if the firing "was proper use of the equipment."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.