Phillies reliever Brad Lidge hasn’t pitched in a game this season because of a right posterior rotator cuff strain that he suffered near the end of March.
The right-hander took a big step forward Saturday, tossing 24 pitches in a game at extended spring training and reporting no issues with his shoulder. This according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
Lidge will make another appearance at extended spring training on Tuesday and could progress to a minor league rehab assignment by late next week if everything continues to go smoothly.
His goal right now is to return to the Phillies’ bullpen by the end of June.
Ryan Madson has been handling save situations with Lidge sidelined and boasts 10 saves in 10 opportunities. If Madson continues performing well, he should retain ninth inning duties even when Lidge returns.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.