Manuel won't commit to Lidge

Updated: September 10, 2009, 12:20 AM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Madson relieved Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge in the ninth inning Tuesday, and he had the role all to himself Wednesday.

Lidge
Lidge

Manager Charlie Manuel gave the ball to Madson for the save in Wednesday's 6-5 win against the Washington Nationals, and Manuel said he's not sure exactly who will get the ball in future save opportunities.

"We'll just wait and see," Manuel said. "I don't want that to be a big thing."

Lidge converted all 42 of his save chances last year to help the Phillies win the World Series. He is 0-7 with a 7.11 ERA for the NL East leaders this season, converting 28 of his 38 save opportunities.

On Tuesday night, Lidge took over to begin the ninth with a 5-3 lead against the Nationals. He faced four batters, resulting in a single, walk, hit batter, wild pitch and an out before Manuel replaced him with Ryan Madson. Madson finished for his fifth save.

After Tuesday's game, Lidge said Manuel told him he'd be pitching the next time the Phillies were in a save situation. Manuel, however, didn't specify if Lidge would keep the closer position when he addressed the media after Tuesday's game and prior to Wednesday's contest. When the ninth inning came, he turned to Madson, leaving Lidge in the bullpen.

"Lidge will get the chance to save some games for us," Manuel said. "Tonight, I wanted Madson."

Lidge didn't address the controversy after Wednesday's game.

"Madson did a great job," Lidge said. "I'm happy he did, I'm happy we won. I didn't play in the game, I haven't talked to Charlie or anything, so there's really not a lot more for me to say."

The Phillies lead the East by six games, but now they have some uncertainty in the bullpen as they look to the final weeks of the season and the playoffs.

"From here on out, eighth inning, ninth inning -- really it doesn't matter," Madson said. "Setup guy, closer, doesn't matter. Just getting some outs. That's all we need as a team -- is get some outs."

Although Manuel said he may continue to use Madson or Brett Myers along with Lidge in the closer role, he feels Lidge can return to last season's form.

"I think he was a great closer last year, and he's still got that sort of stuff and he's still got the talent," Manuel said. "I don't think there's any reason in the world why he can't eventually get right. Whether it's this week, or tomorrow, or two weeks or a month, or next year or two years from now or whatever.

"I'm not down on Lidge at all. Not at all. I've still got confidence in him."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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