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05/11/07 9:07 PM ET

Notes: Gordon comes down with fever

Closer sent to hospital as precaution for flu-like symptoms

PHILADELPHIA -- Tom Gordon's right rotator cuff isn't his only problem.

The closer arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Friday, when he was supposed to test his right rotator cuff by throwing, with flu-like symptoms. He was running a high fever -- Comcast SportsNet reported it as 104 degrees -- so the Phillies sent him to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital as a precaution. He will likely spend the night there.

The right-hander is on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right rotator cuff. He hasn't thrown since recording a perfect ninth inning on May 1 against the Braves.

Howard still ailing: Ryan Howard had two MRIs on Friday, neither of which showed anything that the Phillies didn't already know.

His tib-fib strain, suffered on April 18 in Washington, is just that. No bones are broken, and his left quadriceps muscle is still strained.

He's listed as day-to-day. The National League Most Valuable Player wasn't in the starting lineup for the fourth straight game, as the Phillies opened a three-game series against the Cubs. He's available to pinch-hit, as he did Wednesday in Arizona.

Madson update: After five days of rest, Ryan Madson tested his strained left oblique muscle by playing catch on Friday. He said he felt fine.

"I knew with some rest, it would get better," Madson said. "It's about where I want it to be right now."

Specifically, Madson wants to be on the active roster, and his next step will be throwing off a mound. That could happen early next week, followed by one or two outings with Double-A Reading. Eligible to come off the disabled list on May 20, Madson could join the team for the road trip to Florida and Atlanta.

Ball boy: Despite being limited to manning the baseball bucket during batting practice, Scott Mathieson felt like a baseball player again.

Eight months after Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, the Phillies brought Mathieson to Philadelphia, where he'll spend the week. He's scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday and Wednesday.

"I'm just glad to be in a different state," Mathieson said. "I watched the Phillies on television and felt really far away. I was lonely, like I'm not a player. I'm a rehabber."

Mathieson has reached the stage in his recovery where playing catch is an event to mark on the calendar. His arm feels great, so he has to be careful not to go too fast.

"I've felt good for the past two months," he said. "I feel a lot stronger than I did last year. The hardest thing is fighting myself to stay back."

Nice blanket: Some Phillies had fun with the Phillies' Mother's Day giveaway, a Motrin IB Chase Utley Fleece Blanket. The blue fleece material has an extra-large close-up shot of Utley, and an action shot.

The blanket was hanging in the clubhouse in an open locker between Utley and Jayson Werth.

"A lot of guys have bobbleheads, but a blanket?" Werth said. "That's really making it."

Pitcher Adam Eaton also enjoyed the blanket, adding that he was once featured on a pillow in 2000, and a three-ring binder while with the Padres.

"Every once in while, I'll hear someone say, 'Hey, you still have your pillow?'" Eaton said. "I'm glad [the blanket] isn't in high definition, since he still looks remotely attractive -- even all fuzzy."

Philling in: Right-hander Jon Lieber said the cut on his right middle finger is fine and he expects to start Sunday. The right-hander, who wouldn't say how he cut himself, was scheduled to start Friday. ... Left-hander Rheal Cormier became a free agent Monday, after being designated for assignment 10 days earlier by the Reds. The Phillies aren't among the teams believed to be interested in picking up the veteran lefty. The teams who are include the Braves, Yankees, Blue Jays and Devil Rays.

Coming up: Freddy Garcia, who starts against the Cubs in the second game of this three-game series on Saturday, shook off a May 6 collision with a maintenance cart that resulted in a bruised left shin and turned in his best effort as a Phillie the next day in Arizona. The right-hander tossed six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. The big step was issuing no walks and needing just 70 pitches to get through six innings. He has beaten the Cubs in each of his four career outings against them, sporting a 0.60 ERA in those contests. The Cubs counter with right-hander Angel Guzman.

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