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06/25/09 10:44 PM ET

Eyre eyeing July 4 return to Phillies

Veteran reliever working way back from strained left calf

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Phillies got closer Brad Lidge back in their bullpen Thursday.

They hope left-hander Scott Eyre will be back soon, too.

Eyre has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 12 because of a strained left calf. He has been throwing off the mound lately.

"I don't feel it at all," he said.

Eyre, who will remain in Florida while the team travels to Toronto this weekend, will throw a bullpen session Friday, take pitchers' fielding practice Saturday and likely pitch for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies on Monday.

If it goes well, Eyre likely would pitch Wednesday for Class A Clearwater and Thursday for Double-A Reading.

He hopes to be activated July 4 against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

But for now, the Phillies, who fell to the Rays, 10-4, on Thursday night, are just happy to have Lidge back.

"That's going to really be big for our bullpen," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We can slot [Ryan] Madson back to the eighth inning. We can have [J.C.] Romero and Madson, and that really sets you up and gives us a better chance to get to Lidge."

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