The Phillies finally placed Brad Lidge on the DL, retroactive to June 7th. Ryan Madson has been, and will continue to, serve as the Fightins closer in his stead.
As I wrote in my first topical post on this blog, right around Memorial Day, I felt that Lidge was hurt and was trying to tough his way through it. However, after two blown saves against the Dodgers on the Phils recent West Coast swing, GM Ruben Amaro, Manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee took the decision out of Lidge's hands and sat him down.
There has been much conjecture (especially on the radio airwaves) since the announcement that Lidge is not really hurt, and was just given two weeks off because of his recent struggles. After all, everyone in the organization has been saying he's just fine.
More likely, in my opinion, is that everyone said Lidge was just fine because he intended to fight through it, but now they're done pretending since the injury is obviously effecting his ability to pitch.
Two signs I think show that he really is hurt. First, from comments from Lidge and others with the Phillies indicate that it's no sure thing he will be activated from the DL immediately after he is eligible to return. Second, Amaro, as a guest on 610 WIP's morning show on Friday morning (6/12/09) stated that Phils trainer Scott Sheridan told him that the night after Lidge received a cortisone injection in his balky right knee was the first time in a long time that Lidge was able to sleep on his right side, which he was unable to do because of the discomfort in the knee.
Madson has been perfect as Lidge's replacement so far, and in the highly-charged, instant gratification society in which we live, there has been a sizable, and in my opinion unfounded, push among some fans and media to give the closer's job to Madson permanently. No. NO, NO, NO. Lidge had the best season a closer has ever had last year and Madson has never closed. No. Madson has been fine as Lidge's fill-in, but the best scenario for Lidge, Madson and the Phillies is to keep Lidge on the DL until his knee is completely healthy, and after that return him to the closer's role, while allowing Madson and lefty J.C. Romero to form the aptly named 'Bridge to Lidge.'
This arrangement carried the Phillies to a World Series title in 2008, and a healthy Lidge could be the key to the Phils doing it again in 2009.