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.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.