Phillies Notes: Bullpen welcomes a day off

Posted: September 09, 2010

The Phillies played 24 games in 23 days, stretching the reliable arms Charlie Manuel has in his bullpen because 10 games were decided by two or fewer runs.

"We definitely need a day off," the manager said before Wednesday's game.

Finally, on Thursday, the Phillies will get some rest. A team bus was scheduled to leave for New York in the early evening, but many players won't travel north until Friday morning, savoring the off day.

The bullpen, specifically Brad Lidge, is grateful for the timing. Lidge, who was not available the last two days with soreness in his right elbow, played catch before Wednesday's game.

Afterward, Lidge said he felt fine and he should be ready Friday "unless something weird happens."

Pitching coach Rich Dubee said he was "very confident" Lidge will be at his disposal. Why?

"The way he's talking," Dubee said, "and the way the doctors are talking."

Of course, Lidge is typically rosy when discussing his health. Any injury to his elbow is disconcerting because the closer had off-season surgery to repair the elbow and twice went on the disabled list this season with complications from the surgery.

Manuel said he trusts his pitcher.

"I think he knows exactly how he feels and how much his arm hurts," Manuel said. "For me, you kind of go with what he says. Right now, he says he just has some tenderness and a little soreness. That can be common because he's been working. Ever since he came back in June and started pitching on a regular basis, especially here lately, he's been out there a lot."

The same could be said for just about everyone at the back end of the bullpen.

"This has been a tough haul," Dubee said. "We've had to work those guys pretty hard."

Ryan Madson has thrown more innings (261/3) than any National League reliever since July 26. He has a 1.03 ERA in that stretch.

Chad Durbin pitched on three straight days entering Wednesday. Jose Contreras had pitched in four of the last seven games and warmed up in two others.

"We have a pretty heavy load on our guys," Manuel said.

Here's the other side: The Phillies have still thrown the fewest innings (3632/3) of any bullpen in the league. Their 3.91 ERA entering Wednesday's games ranked seventh.

With the off day Thursday and The Roys pitching in two of the team's next three games, the bullpen could be well rested by the end of the weekend.

Another upside: The Phils have every Thursday off for the rest of the season. There will be built-in time to allow rest for some of the relief pitchers.

"That'll be big for us," Manuel said.

The most pressing concern is Lidge, but the Phillies are convinced that will be resolved come Friday.

"We don't want to pitch Brad and hurt him more," Manuel said. "But at the same time, we have 22 games to play and we need to win some of these games. We're not in the playoffs yet."

Saturday's starter?

Manuel and Dubee declined to show their hand in naming a starter for Saturday's game against the Mets at Citi Field. Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley are going through their normal between-starts routines.

Kendrick was in the bullpen and available to pitch Wednesday only because should he make the start, it would be on an extra day's rest. It was a normal throw day for him.

"I'm not concerned," Kendrick said. "It's their decision."

Kendrick's only start at Citi Field was successful. He allowed one run in 62/3 innings on Aug. 15. But, as Dubee noted, the Mets have never seen Worley.

Extra bases

Domonic Brown (strained right quadriceps) took batting practice Wednesday but Manuel said he likely would not use the rookie to pinch-hit. . . . Righthander Danys Baez (back spasms) threw a 21-pitch simulated game before batting practice. He said he will be activated from the DL on Friday.

Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at 215-854-2928 or

Follow him on Twitter @magelb.

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