© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The crutches are gone.
Phillies closer Brad Lidge said he ditched those on Wednesday, two days after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He played catch the same day, and he intends to throw again on Monday, continuing to progress toward his goal of being ready for Opening Day.
"There's no pain right now," he said. "That's a great sign. [Sunday] I'll go further, and Monday, we can start pushing off my leg and doing some long toss. Every day we get a new step."
Lidge caught his spike on his first pitch of batting practice on Feb. 23, and limped off Richie Ashburn Field at the Carpenter Complex. On Monday, he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus and was given a timetable of three to six weeks.
Lidge remains hopeful of returning by Opening Day.
"Right now, I might be on the early side of three to six weeks," Lidge said. "At the same time, we're not trying to get to three weeks just so we can say we're at three, then two weeks later, something happens. But it's going good."
Lidge hopes to throw a bullpen session as early as Tuesday, then move on to batting practice. He said his arm felt great when he came to Clearwater, and he feels he'll be able to toss the necessary Grapefruit League innings. He prefers not to think about the possibility of starting the season on the disabled list.
"I need to get a few outings in," he said. "Is that five outings, seven? I'm hoping to still be ready for the season. If everything goes as planned, that can still happen. We still have about 30 days to go."
In a flash:
Tom Gordon, making his first appearance of the spring, faced five batters on Saturday and had a rough afternoon.
The reliever surrendered two runs on two hits and a walk, and allowed a long two-run homer to Wilson Betemit.
News and features:
Spring Training info:
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"Flash did OK," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said. "He got a little something over the plate on Betemit, and the Louisville [Slugger] caught up with him."
More game stuff:
Outfield prospect Greg Golson, the 21st overall pick in the June 2004 First-Year Player Draft, homered for the second straight day. Golson also homered in Friday's "B" game against the Pirates. ... Former Phillies farmhand Dan Giese threw an inning for the Yankees, allowing the homer to Golson. ... Clay Condrey gave up a homer in his second straight outing. This time, Alex Rodriguez found a pitch to his liking.
Righty John Ennis, designated for assignment to make room for waiver claim Ray Olmedo, cleared waivers and became a free agent. He re-signed with the Phillies and returned to camp as a Minor League non-roster invitee. ... Center fielder Shane Victorino agreed to terms on a split contract for the 2008 season, leaving lefty Cole Hamels as the team's only unsigned player. Bobby Abreu returned to Clearwater for the first time since his trade to the Yankees during the 2006 season, and he was booed. Abreu didn't play at Bright House Field last spring because of an injury.
Hamels makes his first exhibition start of 2008, taking on Andy Pettitte and the Yankees at Legends Field in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. ET. The Phils lefty stood out there in 2004, when he struck out Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Tony Clark in his Grapefruit League debut. Carlos Carrasco, Philadelphia's top prospect, is also scheduled to pitch.