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.
Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.
Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.
Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.
As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.
Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.