Phillies closer Brad Lidge has not appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 11 due to tendinitis in his right biceps muscle. The veteran right-hander will look to change that early this week.
According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Lidge threw a successful bullpen session Sunday morning in Phillies camp. He fired 35 pitches and reported no issues with his arm, telling reporters that he was “very encouraged by this one.”
Lidge had been holding back in recent throwing workouts with the aim of avoiding a setback, but he let it loose Sunday with Opening Day looming and the results were positive.
“It still felt really good,” he said. “This is the step we needed to get me back into games. Now hopefully I’ll get four or five outings in. That should be enough. I feel real comfortable with everything right now, and fortunately we’ve still got a few days.”
The 34-year-old posted a healthy 2.96 ERA and 1.23 WHIP across 50 appearances last year and saved 27 games. He is fully expected to be ready for the start of the 2011 regular season.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.