Elbow stiffness keeps Lidge out of ninth
Phils go with Contreras in final frame of Monday's victory
DENVER -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before Monday night's 9-5 victory over the Rockies that he was ready to turn Brad Lidge loose.
He then said after the game he wanted to stay away from him.
What changed in a matter of hours? Something potentially troubling.
Lidge said that he felt some stiffness in his right elbow after picking up a save Sunday against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park which carried into Monday. So when the time came for the Phillies to pitch somebody in the ninth inning, they chose Jose Contreras.
Lidge said he threw before the game and still felt the discomfort.
"Today, it didn't feel great," Lidge said. "I'm not worried. It's some of the things hopefully we won't have to deal with for very long. Out of surgery, here and there, there might be something like that. I guess it's pretty normal. That's what they told me. Hopefully I'll be ready to go tomorrow."
Lidge had surgery on his right elbow in November following the World Series. He received a cortisone injection in the elbow in March and spent most of April rehabbing. He is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA and one save in four appearances.
Contreras helps stabilize Phils' bullpen
DENVER -- Millions and millions of dollars are spent every offseason as teams try to upgrade their rosters.
Some of those moves hit. Some miss.
But in another example of the highest-priced players not always making the greatest impact, Phillies right-hander Jose Contreras has been a godsend to a bullpen that has had Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson on the disabled list.
Contreras entered Monday night's game against the Colorado Rockies with a 2-1 record and a sterling 0.84 ERA. In 10 2/3 innings, he has allowed just five hits, one run and one walk, striking out 15. Opponents hit just .143 against him.
And the Phillies paid just $1.5 million for him in January.
"Everything is working very good. My arm is making good adjustments," Contreras said through his translator, teammate and friend Danys Baez. "I'm throwing back-to-back and three to four times in seven days. Everything is good."
Contreras, 38, said he likes the way his arm has responded to pitching out of the bullpen, something he did just a handful of times the previous season with the Rockies.
"It's not about getting strong," Baez said. "It's maintenance. It's working on the things you have to do to be fresh every day to not get tired in the middle of the season, which is really important for us. As [Phillies players], we know we're going to be in the playoffs. That's the most important part -- the last part of September -- keeping your arm and your mind strong enough to be ready for those months. He's been working on it. He's been great."
Contreras has helped stabilize the bullpen, which had a 4.70 ERA in April and a 1.47 ERA in May.
"Our bullpen has done a good job," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "Contreras looks like he's starting to get into the flow. Getting up, pitching multiple days, things like that. When Baez keeps the ball down in the strike zone he's been good. And [Chad] Durbin has done a really good job."
Durbin has a 1.72 ERA in 12 appearances, and ppponents have hit just .154 against him.
Manuel added that he is ready to turn Contreras and Lidge loose, meaning they could be pitching in consecutive days and several times a week, if needed.
Castro fills in at shortstop in ninth
DENVER -- Infielder Juan Castro played shortstop in the ninth inning Monday when the Phillies pinch-hit for shortstop Wilson Valdez.
Castro had not played since Wednesday, when he strained a ligament in his left leg. He said after the 9-5 victory over the Rockies that he likely will not be completely ready to play until this weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Castro had been playing in place of shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who is in Clearwater, Fla., recovering from a strained right calf. But with Rollins and Castro both out, Wilson Valdez has been playing shortstop. He is hitting .172 with three RBIs.
Left-hander J.A. Happ, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained flexor pronator muscle in his left arm, is throwing from 90 feet. He is not yet ready to throw off the mound, and the Phillies are taking things more slowly this time to make sure Happ won't feel any soreness when he returns to the mound.
Games in Toronto may need rescheduling
DENVER -- Don't book that flight to Toronto just yet.
The Phillies are scheduled to play the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre from June 25-27, but the G-20 Summit might force them to change plans. TheFightins.com, a popular Phillies blog, wrote Monday that a Phillies employee has informed people that an event scheduled that weekend at Citizens Bank Park would be rescheduled because the games would be moved to Philadelphia.
MLB.com asked senior vice president of scheduling and club relations Katy Feeney if the series could be played in Philadelphia or elsewhere, or if the series definitely would be played in Toronto, as scheduled.
"We are fully aware of the situation and working with the Blue Jays and the G-20 organizers and security, as well as the Phillies, and once a final determination is made for any of the games, we will announce," Feeney replied.
The Phillies declined comment.
Phillies well-represented at Roberts' funeral
DENVER -- Funeral services were held Monday in Temple Terrace, Fla., for Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts.
Roberts died Thursday. He was 83.
Phillies president David Montgomery, chairman Bill Giles, senior vice president of administration and operations Mike Stiles, vice president of Phillies enterprises Richard Deats, vice president of alumni relations Larry Shenk and manager of client services and alumni relations Debbie Nocito attended.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.