Following the news that Chase Utley will not be available to start the 2011 season due to injury, news from Phillies camp this morning is that Brad Lidge will likewise be placed on the disabled list after it was reported that the right-hander experience shoulder soreness during his outing in yesterday’s spring training game.
Although the extent of the injury is unknown, the implication of another Phillie on the DL sounds much worse than it actually is. The Phillies are fortunate to have a great deal of depth at the back end of the bullpen thanks to the arms of Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras, and given the strength of the starting rotation, this shouldn’t dampen anyone’s hopes for the season.
This also gives the Phillies a chance to give more ninth inning opportunities to Madson, who many view as the heir apparent to the closer’s role if the Phillies don’t bring Lidge back after the season. Although Madson is also a free agent, he’s arguably been the best non-starting pitcher over the last three seasons, so this could very well be a window into the future of the Phillies.
Lidge is scheduled to have an MRI in Philadelphia next week to determine the exact nature of the injury. The often beleaguered closer has seen his fair share of time on the DL since he came to Philadelphia, as he’s made stops on the list each of the last three years.
Last season, he went 1-1 with 27 saves in 32 chances in and was very impressive in the second half, where he earned 21 saves to the tune of a 2.10 ERA while striking out 31 in 30 innings.