Brad Lidge eyes Friday return to Phillies’ bullpen

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Brad Lidge made his eighth minor-league rehab appearance today, throwing a scoreless inning at Single-A, and David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that he may be cleared to come off the disabled list as soon as Friday.

Lidge has been mostly impressive in the minors, allowing three runs in 7.2 innings while striking out 10 and walking just one, but he hasn’t pitched for the Phillies since last October due to arm problems.

Philadelphia is said to be in the market for bullpen help, with some reports pegging them as the front-runners to acquire Heath Bell or Mike Adams from the Padres, but Lidge returning Friday and putting together a few impressive outings could change the Phillies’ plans a bit heading into the July 31 trade deadline.

Lidge figures to return as a setup man, with both Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo ahead of him on the closer depth chart.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
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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.