Pain-Free Lidge Ready to Move on… to Opening Day?

Phillies closer Lidge looking to forget tough 2009

Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge said he is pain free Wednesday.

Now if he could only forget the pain of a horrendous 2009 season.

A year after converting all 48 save chances, Lidge led the major leagues with 11 blown saves last season as his ERA ballooned to 7.21.

Lidge had an idea for getting past last year.

"I'm going to burn my '09 shirts and we'll get this over with and move forward from there," Lidge told

Injuries possibly played a role in Lidge’s fall from dominance. But, the righty didn't use that excuse for his bad season.

"I'll never put myself on the DL," he said to "If they pull me out of there and say, 'You can't do it,' that's one thing. If I can physically go out there, I'm going to. That's not a decision that I feel like I need to make."

He had surgery to repair his right elbow in November and right knee in January.

Just hours before spring training officially starts, the 33-year-old closer is confident he can regain the form that helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series.

The loser in pivotal World Series Game 4 against the New York Yankees, Lidge estimates he is two weeks behind his usual preseason pace. He expects to pitch off a mound next week and doesn't rule out being available for the April 5 opener against Washington

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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