Lidge and Manuel meet to discuss closer's role

WASHINGTON (AP) - September 10, 2009 Lidge and Manuel spoke after Wednesday night's game against Washington. The following day, the manager wouldn't say if or when Lidge will get his job back as closer.

"We're really on the same page with everything. We had a good talk," Lidge said.

Lidge converted all 48 of his save chances last year, including the postseason, to help the Phillies win the World Series. This year, he has 10 blown saves in 38 opportunities.

"I see him as a closer," Manuel said.

But with 24 games left in the regular season, he wasn't promising a specific role. Philadelphia began the day with a six-game lead over Florida in the NL East.

"I don't see us using him in the seventh or eighth inning," Manuel said. "We might use some time to give him some work." Manuel would like the luxury of using Lidge in a one-sided game, but those can't be predicted. Lidge is 0-7 with a 7.11 ERA this season.

"I told him I'll take the ball when he needs me to," Lidge said. "I feel like I'm very close to where I need to be, but it wouldn't hurt to get a couple more outings."

Manuel turned to Ryan Madson to close out Wednesday night's 6-5 win over the Nationals while Lidge stayed in the bullpen.

The previous day, the manager pulled Lidge in the ninth inning after he allowed three of his four batters to reach base. Manuel went to Madson, who bailed out Lidge and the Phillies by nailing down a 5-3 victory.

The manager said he had a simple reason for yanking Lidge in that one.

"I had a bad feeling," Manuel explained.

Despite that, Manuel is convinced Lidge will close again. He just doesn't know when.

"It's hard to explain. He definitely hasn't lost nothing. I'm telling you right now, he definitely can still close," Manuel insisted.

Manuel said he likes having Madson, Lidge and Brett Myers - all with closing experience - in the bullpen.

In other news, reliever Scott Eyre had an MRI on his ailing left elbow. A "loose body" was found in the elbow, Philadelphia assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.

Proefrock said Eyre wouldn't throw for several days while options were examined. Eyre is 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in 39 games. Missing Eyre and J.C. Romero, who's been on the 15-day disabled list since July 20 with a strained left forearm, the Phillies are without a proven lefty in the bullpen.

Jamie Moyer, who had been in the 'pen since Pedro Martinez joined the rotation, will start Saturday due to J.A. Happ's strained oblique muscle.

The only lefties available in Philadelphia's bullpen are veteran Jack Taschner, who is 1-1 with a 5.08 ERA in 23 games, and rookie Sergio Escalona, recalled from the minors for the sixth time this season on Wednesday.

Escalona is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in six games.

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