Activated Lidge rejoins Phillies bullpen
Closer has missed all season because of strained rotator cuff
PHILADELPHIA -- Brad Lidge's drive to Citizens Bank Park on Friday felt like Opening Day -- complete with butterflies in his stomach.
That makes sense considering he hasn't pitched in Philadelphia since October 23 of last season, when the Giants clinched the pennant.
"You can just imagine being not able to do what you know you're supposed to do, what you're being paid to do, what you love to do and you can't do it," Lidge said. "You just have to bite the bullet, and work as hard as you can and just get back when your body finally lets you."
Lidge has missed the entire season with the strained right rotator cuff and elbow inflammation he sustained in Spring Training. He was first placed on the disabled list on March 30, retroactive to March 25.
The right-hander was 0-0 with a 3.52 ERA during an eight-game rehabilitation stint with Class A Lakewood and Double-A Reading, walking two batters and striking out 10 in 7 2/3 innings.
For now, he won't return to the closer's role, where Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo have done well. Expect to see Lidge used in a setup role in the mid-to-late innings.
"I'm hoping I can get in a lot of games real fast here and try and make up any ground I can, and get Charlie to know I'm healthy and I can throw whenever he needs me to," Lidge said.
"We're not gonna make concessions," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "He's gonna pitch when we think the opportunity is right."
His fastball topped out at 90 m.p.h. in his last rehab stint, but Lidge is counting on adrenaline to bump him up another notch. His command of his slider is where it should be, he said.
To make room for Lidge on the roster, the Phillies designated Danys Baez for assignment. Baez, 33, was 2-4 with a 6.25 ERA in 29 appearances for Philadelphia this year.
"He made every effort to make different adjustments to try and improve," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of Baez. "He just didn't pitch well enough consistently to ever really get into a rhythm for us."
Oswalt back on mound, throws simulated game
PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Oswalt made his return to the mound at Citizens Bank Park more than four hours before Friday's game against the San Diego Padres.
Oswalt, on the disabled list since June 24 with lower back inflammation and a bulging disk, threw a 50-pitch simulated game, facing Domonic Brown and Wilson Valdez. He will throw another bullpen session Sunday, but not against live hitting.
"I just wanted to see where I was at as far as I can get a lot from their reaction," Oswalt said. "Throwing a bullpen is kind of like going to a golf course and hitting a driver 1,000 times. Eventually you hit it straight."
He said he felt good after the session and hopes to make a rehab start next week. A return could follow soon after. Oswalt expects to need only one rehab outing. Manager Charlie Manuel said that's possible.
"That's optimistic, but I don't know if it's realistic," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "But he knows his body better than anybody else. He's been living with it for over 30 years."
Starting pitcher Joe Blanton (right elbow inflammation) and reliever Jose Contreras (right forearm strain) are scheduled to meet with team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti today. Manuel said the evaluation will be telling about Blanton's availability the rest of the season.
Jimmy Rollins' two home runs on Wednesday made him the first lead-off hitter to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game since Arizona's Felipe Lopez on April 6, 2009, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Vance Worley has now made six straight starts of at least five innings while allowing one earned run or fewer, the first Phillie to do so since Steve Carlton in his spectacular 1972 season, according to ESPN.
Nate Mink is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.