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06/18/06 7:53 PM ET

Notes: Alito lives out a lifelong 'dream'

Supreme Court Associate Justice throws out first pitch

PHILADELPHIA -- Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. was just another Phillies fan on Sunday afternoon.

The newly appointed member of the nation's highest court lived out another dream by delivering the first pitch at Citizens Bank Park. Wearing a No. 1 home jersey with "Alito" on the back, the 56-year-old threw a strike to the waiting Phillie Phanatic.

"My son [Philip] and I practiced so I wouldn't throw it in the stands," Alito said. "It was kind of demoralizing that the Phanatic caught it without a glove."

That indiscretion aside, Alito enjoyed his Father's Day at the yard. Alito grew up a Phillies fan while living in Trenton, N.J., and remained so at Yale Law School. He attended games at Connie Mack Stadium and Veterans Stadium.

In 1994, he took a break from his position as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to man second base at Dream Week, now known as Phillies' Phantasy Camp.

He played for former Phils skipper Larry Bowa that week, and he won the Silver Glove Award for his defensive play. At the plate was another story.

"I couldn't hit at all," he said.

He doesn't have to hit anymore, as he embarks on this new phase of life.

"It's a great thrill, a big change in my life," he said. "It was a dream of mine, and the circumstances were right."

As they were Sunday, on an 87-degree afternoon.

"I've been a Phillies fan all my life, so this is a dream come true," Alito said. "Just unbelievable."

Now what? Scott Mathieson convinced himself on Saturday that he can pitch in the big leagues.

Now he has to convince the Phillies to keep him here.

"Hopefully, I'll get a chance, if not starting, out of the bullpen, or wherever," Mathieson said. "I'll be the bat boy if they ask. Anything."

While bat boy isn't an option, the Phillies have a bit of a dilemma over the next few days. Because of off-days, they don't need a fifth starter until July 1, and Jon Lieber might be ready by then. They could also decide to dole out extra rest and keep Mathieson in the rotation, at least until Lieber returns.

Another option is bringing Mathieson out of the bullpen, assuming they believe it won't stunt the development of his offspeed pitches, which wouldn't be utilized as much.

"We haven't discussed it yet," said pitching coach Rich Dubee. Mathieson hopes they do.

Dubee was encouraged by Mathieson's first big-league outing, when the right-hander allowed four runs in six innings, and struck out five.

"He did very well for a first time out," Dubee said. "I thought he was a little nervous, but he made some good pitches when he had to. He did a nice job controlling his emotions. When you take Scott Mathieson now vs. two years ago, it's leaps and bounds."

Lieber update: Lieber threw 30 pitches off a mound on Sunday, his first tosses from a mound since he strained his left groin on May 30. He said he'll throw again on Tuesday.

The Phillies are quietly hoping Lieber can return by July 1, when he could be inserted into the rotation to start against the Blue Jays. It's likely the veteran would need at least one rehab start before being activated.

Quotable: "He's 6-foot-10, throws about 100 [mph] from the left side with a nasty slider. Who wouldn't want to face him, especially hitting left-handed?" -- Ryan Howard, on facing the Yankees' Randy Johnson on Monday

Philling in: Fans who want to continue to support Chase Utley and other Phillies for the All-Star Game can now do only so online, as in-stadium balloting ended at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday. Each Major League team had 23 home dates for fans to cast ballots. ... Players wore blue wristbands and ribbons on their jerseys in support of a Father's Day initiative promoting prostate cancer awareness. ... Mathieson presented the ball from his first strikeout (of the Rays' Scott Kazmir) to his father as a Father's Day gift. "I put it in a case, so that was nice," Mathieson said.

Coming up: Brett Myers, the ace of the staff, is suddenly looking more like the three of clubs. After starting the year with 12 outings of three earned runs or fewer, Myers has been hit hard in his last two starts.

In two games in which he got little support from his defense, the right-hander yielded 11 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals and the Mets. This will be his first career start against the visiting Yankees, who will hand the ball to Johnson in Monday's 7:05 p.m. ET opener.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.