Lidge gets cortisone shot for elbow

Updated: March 31, 2010, 6:51 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge received a cortisone shot in his surgically repaired right elbow to "jump start" his preparation for the regular season.

The reliever had surgery on his elbow in November and on his right knee and likely won't be ready to pitch until mid-April at the earliest. He had the injection Tuesday after pitching in a minor league game.

Lidge
Lidge

Philadelphia team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti said Wednesday that Lidge usually has soreness in his outer elbow early in spring training.

"Because he started a little bit later this year with his throwing that soreness has lingered a little bit longer," Ciccotti said.

An MRI exam wasn't needed, as a physical exam showed no structural damage, the doctor said.

"It's not at all related to the surgery he had in the offseason," Ciccotti said. "The surgery was on the inner aspect of the elbow. In order to jump start him, we decided that we would give him an injection."

Lidge made his fifth appearance in a minor league game this month on Monday. The velocity on his fastball, typically in the low-to-mid 90s during the regular season, hasn't reached 90 mph yet.

"We got to a point where it was kind of stagnant for a couple of weeks," Lidge said. "It wasn't going up like it normally should go up in spring training.

"My arm strength is good and my slider was coming around and everything else was going the way it should, but velocity was not going. Rather than projecting on when it will, we decided to take action into our own hands, get a cortisone shot and speed the process up."

Lidge, who was originally scheduled to appear in minor league games Thursday and Sunday, will instead throw a long-toss session Friday. If that goes well, he'll throw off the mound in a bullpen session Sunday.

"This puts you a couple days behind where you want to be," Lidge said. "That being said, if it works, like we're hoping it's going to, it's going to speed up things a lot on the other side of that."

Lidge is entering his third season with the Phillies. In 2008, he converted all 48 of his save opportunities in the regular season and playoffs to help the Phillies win their second World Series title in franchise history.

In 2009, he led the majors with 11 blown saves and finished 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA.

"You want to have Brad Lidge pitch closer to what he was in 2008, whether he is going to do that or not isn't going to be known until he gets his health issues resolved," Philadelphia general manger Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Once he gets those resolved, the hope is that he's pitching closer to that way he was in 2008 than 2009."

Veteran setup man Ryan Madson will open the season as the Phillies closer.


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