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Lidge needs surgery

Phillies closer to miss 3-6 weeks

BRAD LIDGE He's facing knee surgery BRAD LIDGE He's facing knee surgery
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Associated Press / February 25, 2008

Phillies closer Brad Lidge is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee today and could miss the regular-season opener.

Lidge, Philadelphia's biggest offseason acquisition, limped off the field Saturday after injuring his knee when he caught a spike in the mound on his first pitch of batting practice. Doctors removed torn cartilage from the same knee in October.

The 31-year-old righthander returned to Philadelphia yesterday for today's surgery that would sideline him 3-6 weeks. The Phillies open the season at home March 31 against Washington.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said setup man Tom Gordon would close if Lidge isn't ready for Opening Day.

"Ideally, if everything went right I wouldn't miss any of the season because that would be four weeks," Lidge said. "But that will be based on how it feels."

The Phillies acquired Lidge and infielder Eric Bruntlett in a November trade that sent outfielder Michael Bourn, infield prospect Mike Costanzo, and reliever Geoff Geary to the Astros.

Lidge, who has 123 career saves, finished 2007 with 19 saves in 27 chances and a 3.36 ERA for Houston.

The Clemens watch

Roger Clemens might show up at Houston Astros spring training this week for a minor league minicamp that includes his son, Koby. The minicamp begins today in Kissimmee and Koby Clemens, a catcher in the Astros' farm system, is expected to participate. Minor leaguers could check in for the camp yesterday, but neither Koby nor his father arrived before the minor league clubhouse closed at 5 p.m. Houston manager Cecil Cooper said he was expecting the seven-time Cy Young Award winner to attend the camp, but said he didn't know when he might arrive . . . Astros pitcher Brandon Backe suffered a bone bruise on his right foot when he was hit by a hard grounder during batting practice Saturday, and sat out yesterday's workout. X-rays were negative . . . Chicago Cubs second baseman Mark DeRosa was released from the hospital last evening, the team said, one day after complaining of a rapid heartbeat during fielding drills. The team initially said DeRosa was released Saturday evening, but later said he was kept overnight at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., as a precaution. DeRosa, 33, is expected to be examined by a cardiologist today.

Stewart rejoins Jays

Shannon Stewart and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The righthanded hitting outfielder spent last season with the Oakland Athletics, batting .290 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs in 146 games. Stewart, who turns 34 today, was selected 19th overall by Toronto in the June 1992 draft . . . Free agent pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim finalized an $850,000, one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, four days after agreeing to terms . . . Mark Buehrle was scratched from his scheduled outing in a Chicago White Sox intrasquad game because of soreness. The lefthander, slated to start the season opener, said he plans to pitch against Arizona Friday.

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