Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge (knee) is slated to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his problematic right knee Monday, Feb. 25, after catching a spike on the mound Saturday, Feb. 23, and re-injuring the knee. He will likely be out of action for three to six weeks.
Lidge, who was bothered with knee problems throughout the 2007 season, had surgery in October to repair torn knee cartilage, when he was still a member of the Houston Astros. The Phillies had been confident enough in his health, however, to pull the strings on a five-player trade to bring him to the City of Brotherly Love to serve as the team's closer.
The team is prepared to use 2006 closer Tom Gordon in the closing role if Lidge isn't ready in time for Opening Day. Lidge seemed to regain some confidence last season, going 5-3 with 19 saves and a 3.36 ERA, one year after tallying an uncharacteristic 5.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. As for Gordon, he didn't exactly dominate last year, going 3-2 with a 4.72 ERA and six saves, but he has had previous success as a closer. For example, he saved 34 games for the Phillies in 2006. Last year, the Phillies turned to starting pitcher Brett Myers as their closer due to a slate of injuries, but the plan this year is to return Myers to the starting rotation. It seems unlikely that they would consider using Myers as closer again this year, even though he seemed to thrive in the role.
Lidge's injury doesn't seem overly serious at this point, but there is a chance he won't be ready in time for Opening Day. His draft value should take a slight hit, as he seems to be injury prone lately, while Gordon's value should increase slightly. Many closers are risky picks as it is, so drafting either Lidge or Gordon should be done with caution.
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