Brad Lidge told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he was “pretty pleased” with his 16-pitch appearance in a minor-league game this afternoon, but also admitted afterward that he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day following offseason knee and elbow surgeries:
It’s going to be really tough to be ready for the opener. In my mind I’m still shooting for it, but I don’t know if that’s realistic. … I want to be out there as much as I can, but we’ve got a deep bullpen. Obviously, we’ve got guys that can get it down while J.C. [Romero] and I are getting our arm speed back.
If we were on a bubble team and we had to be ready from Day 1 that’s one thing, but I think our team can cover just about anybody at any position for a week or two. That’s the fortunate part of being on a team as good as us.
Lidge estimated that he’ll need to make nine more appearances before being ready for the season and pegged the April 9-11 series against Houston as a more realistic time frame for his debut. Ryan Madson is the favorite to fill the closer role in his absence, although the Phillies may also give Danys Baez some ninth-inning duties after signing him to a two-year, $5.25 deal in January.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.