Charlie Manuel on Brad Lidge’s return timetable: “All-Star break or just before that”

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During a radio interview today Phillies manager Charlie Manuel gave an update on Brad Lidge’s health status, saying he’s “probably looking at maybe All-Star break or just before that” for the closer to return from a partially torn rotator cuff.

That’s considerably longer than the initial timetable given late last month, which had Lidge missing 3-6 weeks. However, according to Cash Kruth of MLB.com that 3-6 weeks likely represents the time Lidge will be shut down completely, at which point he could begin a throwing program and start making his way back from the injury.

Manuel tabbed Jose Contreras as the fill-in closer, bypassing Ryan Madson despite the fact that he’s consistently been the Phillies’ best reliever for the past four seasons because just about everyone involved with the team seems to believe he can’t handle ninth-inning duties. Contreras successfully converted his first save chance of the season yesterday.