"It felt great. I was a little jumpy, a little jittery. These fans have always been incredible for me and my career. I wish we would have won the game."
Lidge threw 11 pitches, nine of them sliders, and had a strikeout. The slider, his out pitch, showed enough bite to be effective. He mostly avoided throwing fastballs. One of them hit 90 m.p.h. He believes he can be effective relying on his slider even if the velocity on his fastball doesn't increase, but the always optimistic Lidge said the fastball will improve.
"I'll be throwing more fastballs when my command and velocity get better," he said.
Lidge had success late last season even though the velocity on his fastball had dropped. For now, though, Lidge's role is not clearly defined. Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo are the closers. Lidge is fine with it all. He said his shoulder feels fine and he just wants to pitch.
"My big goal is to throw a ton of games from here on out and show Charlie [Manuel] he can depend on me in any situation," he said.
Polanco eyes return
After another session of fielding grounders and hitting in the batting cages at Citizens Bank Park, Placido Polanco expressed optimism Monday that he'll return to the Phillies lineup either Saturday or Sunday.
The third baseman plans on first testing his back at triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday and perhaps again on Friday, although general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. didn't confirm the minor-league rehab assignment.
Polanco has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 15 with lower back inflammation caused by a bulging disk. He is eligible to be activated at any time because the DL stint is retroactive to July 5. He said the two injections he received Thursday have relieved him of pain and enabled him to exercise.
"I feel fine," Polanco said. "I can move and I can feel the circulation in my legs. It's good."
Polanco said he feels only the natural soreness that comes with resuming exercise after an idle period. "But it's nothing painful, just the good kind of soreness," he said.
Polanco said he played in discomfort for about 20 to 25 days before he went on the DL.
The impact of Polanco's back injury was reflected in his hitting. He went 0 for 15 in the four games he played before going on the DL and he batted .213 in June.
Amaro said it remains to be seen if Roy Oswalt will require more than one minor-league rehab outing before the righthander is activated from the DL. Oswalt, who went on the DL because of bulging disks, is scheduled to throw about 60 pitches Wednesday at Lehigh Valley.
He believes he'll be ready to return after the one assignment.
"We'll talk and see how he feels after he pitches," Amaro said.
Gillick to be honored
The Phillies will honor former general manager Pat Gillick before Wednesday's game against San Francisco. Gillick was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. He now serves as a senior adviser to Amaro.
Contreras, Blanton watch
Reliever Jose Contreras is scheduled to receive another platelet-rich-plasma injection Tuesday for his ailing right forearm. Contreras has been on the DL since June 23. . . . The Phillies continue to try to determine the problem with Joe Blanton's right elbow. "It's troublesome because it's been a problem for a while," Amaro said. "He gets revved up and things go well, and then he has a bit of a setback. Once he sees a doctor we'll talk some more about whatever kinds of tests need to be done." Blanton, who has missed most of the season, has had two MRIs.
Chase Utley has reached base safely in 27 straight games. . . . Raul Ibanez has 17 RBIs over the last 15 games. . . . Shane Victorino had two doubles and a triple, marking his seventh game of the season with three hits or more.
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or email@example.com.