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Phillies Notebook: Phillies closer Lidge relieved to find flaw in delivery


Phillies Notebook: Phillies closer Lidge relieved to find flaw in delivery
Brad Lidge doesn't watch a lot of videotape. But recently he has turned to the technology to get a better understanding of his early season struggles, which culminated in an 8-5 loss to the Padres Saturday in which he allowed four runs and was charged with his first blown save in more than a year.

Lidge took what he learned into a 20-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, the results of which left him looking forward to his next chance to get back on the mound in a game situation.

"Right now I'm super anxious to get back in a game," he said prior to last night's loss to the Brewers. Lidge has not appeared in a game since the San Diego loss.

While watching tape, Lidge noticed that his back side was dropping lower than it was last season, when he converted all 41 of his regular-season save opportunities and posted a 1.95 ERA.

Through seven games last year, Lidge allowed three hits, no earned runs, and walked six while striking out six in seven scoreless innings. In seven appearances this season, he has allowed seven runs and nine hits, while striking out eight and walking three in 6 2/3 innings.

The reason for the abnormally high amount of hits could be attributed to the inability to keep his fastball down, a struggle that he hopes will be corrected after his work in the bullpen on Tuesday.

"That little adjustment could mean a big difference," Lidge said. "I stayed taller on my back side and all of a sudden my fastball went from being pretty much belt-high every time to being knee high every time."

Ruiz getting closerCatcher Carlos Ruiz, who has been on the disabled list since April 11 with a strained right oblique, is getting closer to beginning a rehab assignment.

Although a Phillies official said yesterday it was "doubtful" that Ruiz would be ready to play on Sunday, when he is eligible to be activated, he is still on schedule to return early next week. Ruiz, who has been blocking balls, throwing and swinging in the batting cage, will do some more Baseball work today. If he continues to improve, he could begin a rehab assignment tomorrow, while the Phillies are in Florida. Manager Charlie Manuel said the assignment likely would be four games, two of which Ruiz would catch and two of which he would serve as a designated hitter. That would seem to indicate that Tuesday is the earliest he could rejoin the team.

In the meantime, rookie catcher Lou Marson made his second start of the year last night, again catching righthander Joe Blanton. Marson, who entered the night 5-for-10 in his big-league career, will head back to Triple A Lehigh Valley once Ruiz is activated.

Young acesForget Hemingway or Kerouac. There was no better reading in the Phillies' front office yesterday than the daily reports filed from around the organization's minor league system. Three of the top pitching prospects in the system were in action on Tuesday, and none of them disappointed.

Righthander Carlos Carrasco the closest to being major league ready, took a perfect game into the fifth inning for Triple A Lehigh Valley and finished with 10 strikeouts, three hits and three earned runs in seven innings.

Righthander Kyle Drabek, who started the Phillies' last Grapefruit League game against the Yankees, struck out a career-high 10 for Class A Clearwater while allowing four hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings.

But most impressive was first-year player Jason Knapp, a 6-5, 235-pound righthander whom the team selected in the second round out of North Hunterdon (N.J.) High last June. Knapp struck out 14 batters in seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and walking three at low-Class A Lakewood.

Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said that in addition to a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s with an impressive downward plane, Knapp has been developing a curveball that could become a very effective major league pitch.

Looper also said that Drabek, a 2006 first-round draft pick who has struck out 26 batters in 18 2/3 innings this season, could be in line for a promotion to Double A this season. Drabek threw a lot of changeups Tuesday, complementing his impressive curve and fastball. But Looper said the team will err on the side of caution when it comes to the handling of one of its brightest prospects, who had Tommy John elbow surgery last summer.*


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 23, 2009

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