Brad Lidge aiming to begin rehab assignment Monday

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Brad Lidge, who has been on the disabled list all season with elbow and shoulder problems, threw a 35-pitch bullpen session yesterday and is scheduled to do so again tomorrow, at which point the Phillies may clear him to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the rehab stint could start as soon as Monday, but notes that the Phillies may ask Lidge to make 8-12 appearances before rejoining the bullpen.

That seems like an awful lot of work in the minors unless he looks terrible early on and for his part Lidge told Salisbury that he’s aiming to return “sometime between the All-Star break and the end of July.”

Charlie Manuel has stated previously that Ryan Madson would remain the closer even after Lidge is back, but now Madson is also on the DL with a hand injury and those plans could potentially change if Lidge beats him back from the DL and thrives right away. In the meantime Antonio Bastardo will continue to fill in as closer.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.