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03/31/08 3:08 PM ET

Lidge attends Opening Day ceremonies

Phillies closer aims to join big league club Saturday vs. Reds

PHILADELPHIA -- Brad Lidge found his locker at Citizens Bank Park and smiled at the thought of another Opening Day.

"There's nowhere else in the world I'd rather be," he said.

Following Monday's season opener vs. the Nationals, Lidge will return to Florida for what he hopes will be the final week of his rehabilitation from Feb. 25 arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He'll throw in a Minor League exhibition game on Tuesday, then for the Clearwater Threshers on Thursday.

Lidge plans to be ready to protect a lead for the Phillies in Cincinnati on Saturday, when he's eligible to be activated from the disabled list. He said his arm speed is returning and two more outings ought to do it.

Lidge can worry about that on Tuesday. On Monday, it was about the team's big trade acquisition enjoying the pomp of his first Opening Day with a new team.

"It's very exciting for me," he said. "Our expectations for this year are pretty high. As for my arm speed, it started to get a little better. It's been more gradual than I was hoping, but it's starting to happen."

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