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News » Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-05-01

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-05-01

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-05-01
For the Phillies, Friday is a big day. And it has nothing to do with the start of their first series against the rival Mets.

Before the Phillies and Mets renew acquaintances at Citizens Bank Park, ace left-hander Cole Hamels and closer Brad Lidge will throw bullpen sessions. In the best scenario, Hamels (sprained left ankle) feels ready to make his scheduled start Monday in St. Louis, and Lidge (right knee inflammation) feels comfortable enough to pitch this weekend.

"That's where I'm really crossing my fingers," Lidge said. "That's the big day."

Hamels sprained his ankle in the fifth inning and left the game Tuesday while trying to field a bunt by Nationals pitcher John Lannan. It marked the second consecutive start in which Hamels left early with an injury. Five days earlier, he was struck in the left shoulder by a line drive hit by Brewers slugger Prince Fielder.

After Tuesday's game, Hamels said he expected to be able to make his next start. But general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday that Hamels reported minor swelling. The injury was classified as a Grade 1 sprain, the most minor possible diagnosis. But the Phillies aren't going to know Hamels' status until after he throws a bullpen session.

Lidge underwent an MRI exam and received a cortisone injection April 20 to reduce inflammation in his knee. The injury flared Saturday during a 34-pitch appearance in Florida, and Lidge has been unavailable to pitch this week. He has been taking anti-inflammatory medication, and if he feels better in the bullpen Friday, the Phillies won't have to put him on the disabled list.

Even with Hamels (17 1/3 innings, 7.27 ERA in four starts) and Lidge (7.27 ERA, four saves) unable to pitch effectively, the Phillies finished April with an 11-9 record. The pitching staff allowed a majors-leading 40 home runs in the first 20 games, and the offense has been carried by Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez, while leadoff-hitting catalyst Jimmy Rollins slumped to a .207 average.

"You've got to handle all the adversity that comes up," manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's part of it. You've got to handle those things. We talk about staying focused to do what we want to do. Sometimes do things distract you? Yeah. But at the same time, you can't use those for excuses."

A good day in the bullpen Friday could eliminate some of that adversity.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 1, 2009

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