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06/16/09 7:45 PM ET

Lidge feels no pain in right leg

Phillies closer could begin rehab assignment soon

PHILADELPHIA -- For the first time since April, Phillies closer Brad Lidge said he felt nothing when he pushed off the rubber with his right leg.

No pain or discomfort.

Lidge, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee, threw 30 pitches in the bullpen Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. He is scheduled to throw 45-50 pitches Thursday, and he could begin a rehab assignment soon after that.

Lidge, who is eligible to be activated June 22, said he is hopeful to rejoin the team next week in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the Rays, although it also could be the following weekend series in Toronto against the Blue Jays.

"If everything goes well, it won't be long after [June 22]," Lidge said.

Lidge received a cortisone shot June 9 to reduce the inflammation in his knee.

"This cortisone shot helped a lot because I got the shot then rested for like five or six days," he said. "And I haven't done anything to aggravate it in the meantime, whereas before I would always aggravate it every couple days, so it never had a chance to feel like it does now. Hopefully I'll be able to maintain this."

Lidge, who said he does not expect the knee to require surgery, had a previous cortisone shot in April.

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