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05/26/10 12:13 AM ET

Lidge could be activated next week

Phillies closer throws 25 pitches in pain-free 'pen session

NEW YORK -- Phillies closer Brad Lidge threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday at Citi Field, and could be activated from the 15-day disabled list next week in Atlanta.

"It went real good," Lidge said. "I let a few go and [there was] no pain at all. It's very encouraging."

Lidge will throw again in the bullpen Thursday, but he will incorporate his slider into the session. He will travel with the team to Florida, where the Phillies play the Marlins this weekend, and possibly make a rehab appearance Saturday with Class A Clearwater.

Injured pitchers Ryan Madson and J.A. Happ flew to Clearwater, Fla., to continue their rehabilitation. Injured shortstop Jimmy Rollins will head to Clearwater on Wednesday.

Facing another knuckler, Phils at a loss

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley grabbed a bat from his locker Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field and headed to the indoor batting cage down the hall.

But before Utley hit, he stopped to answer a quick question: Is there any way to prepare for a knuckleball pitcher like Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey, whom the Phillies faced in an 8-0 loss Tuesday night?

"No, unless you know of anybody who throws one," Utley said.

Philadelphia faced knuckleball pitchers in consecutive games for the first time since April 27-29, 1983, when it faced Atlanta's Phil Niekro and Houston's Joe Niekro. The Phillies took on Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, where he threw eight shutout innings. Dickey tossed six shutout innings Tuesday.

"You're used to seeing guys who have everyday stuff," Phils first baseman Ryan Howard said afterward. "A fastball, curveball, some type of offspeed pitch. It's very rare that you see a guy that throws a knuckleball. We've seen two knuckleballers back-to-back. I think that's even more rare. It's kind of a like a Halley's Comet kind of deal."

Manager Charlie Manuel wanted to see his team take a different approach at the plate Tuesday, but he did not get it.

"We can be a little more aggressive with our swing," he said before the game. "You've got to swing at it. I'd like to see guys move closer to the plate and cut down the area the guy can throw the ball in. Maybe even move up in the box because that cuts down the movement on the ball. The ball gets to you and it's not breaking its full length.

"But nowadays, they're going to stand there, hell or high water. They're going to stay right where they stand. If they hit .240 or hit .210 or .300, they're going to stand in that same place. We'll see how it comes out."

It did not come out well. Manuel pointed out the Phillies had several opportunities against Dickey, which they did. The Phils left the bases loaded twice against Dickey. They stranded nine runners overall.

Schneider back after homecoming

NEW YORK -- Catcher Brian Schneider spent the weekend with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he made three rehab appearances before the Phillies activated him Monday. It was a homecoming for Schneider, who was on the disabled list because of a strained left Achilles. The IronPigs play in Allentown, Pa., and Schneider grew up in nearby Northampton.

"It was good," he said. "You're back home for the first time in a long time."

Schneider said he is pulling for the Flyers, who have reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1997. Schneider said he went to a few Flyers games as a kid. He said he grew up liking John LeClair.

"I loved watching them," he said.

Manuel: Comments on Mets were 'stupid'

NEW YORK -- The Mets entered Tuesday's series opener against the Phillies at Citi Field an impressive 16-9 at home and 9-14 on the road.

During the sign stealing controversy in Colorado a couple weeks ago, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was reminded that the Mets have suspected the Phils of stealing signs in the past. Manuel then pointed out the Mets' home record, inferring they might have something of their own cooking.

"That was something that I just said that was stupid," Manuel said. "Somebody said something dumb to me and I said something dumb back. Really. Seriously. That's what that was."

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