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Lidge returns from disabled list, Oswalt gets closer

The Sports Xchange
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If the Phillies were looking for one of those feel-good days at Citizens Bank Park, they got it Friday night.

Roy Oswalt felt good throwing from the mound and Brad Lidge felt good making his drive to the ballpark.

Oswalt inched closer to his return to the Phillies' rotation, tossing a three-inning simulated game that required 47 pitches to complete. Lidge, the closer, is back... but not as that lights-out guy from three seasons ago.

Lidge is back after spending the entire season on the disabled list. He was activated while reliever Danys Baez wore the designated-for-assignment tag. Baez posted a 5.28 earned-run average in two seasons with the Phillies.

Oswalt, meanwhile, will make a rehab assignment -- most likely Wednesday -- before he can rejoin the Phillies. The right-hander, hampered by back pain, has not pitched since June 23.

"I think the biggest thing is I don't feel any pain, so I feel like I can really drive against my front side," said Oswalt (4-6, 3.79 ERA). "Before I was just throwing, mainly, off my back side... I just feel like I can throw the ball now."

Oswalt said he will throw a bullpen session Sunday. Oswalt said it was his choice to throw a simulated game.

"I wanted to see where I was at," Oswalt said. "I can get a lot from (the hitter's) reaction. Throwing a bullpen is kind of like going to a golf course and hitting a ball with a driver a thousand times -- eventually, you'll hit it straight."

Brian Schneider served as the catcher for Oswalt while Wilson Valdez and Domonic Brown, among others, served as hitters.

Oswalt might need more time, but Lidge is back -- sort of.

The closer has not appeared in a game since the 2010 National League Championship Series. A right posterior rotator cuff strain kept Lidge from joining the team following spring training. He made eight rehab appearances prior to his activation off the DL.

"On the drive over, it felt like an opening day for me," said the right-handed Lidge. "I had those butterflies in my stomach. It's a lot of fun to be back with the team right now."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee emphasized reluctance, at least for now, in throwing Lidge into situations with the game on the line.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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