Brad Lidge, in what was slated to be his final rehab appearance in the minors before the Phillies activate him to the MLB roster, tossed a 1-2-3 inning for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws against the Greenville Drive (Red Sox affiliate) on Wednesday afternoon.
In a scoreless 8th inning, it took Lidge 10 pitches to retire all three batters he faced. He induced a ground out from lead-off batter Wilfred Pichardo, struck out speedster Felix Sanchez with a slider and got Philadelphia area product Sean Coyle to ground out as well.
Unfortunately for Lidge, who has been clear about his desire to add some velocity before he makes his big league return, his fastball again peaked at 88 MPH on Wednesday, which is where it has been since early in this rehab process.
Following the outing, Lidge expressed his relief regarding being finished with the recovery from his shoulder and elbow strains as well as some excitement about rejoining his teammates in Philadelphia.
"It's crazy. It's hard to even describe," Lidge said. "Being out for (this) entire year, going up and down the minor league system, just about every spot, trying to work your way back. I'm more than ready and it'll be nice to be with the guys again."
Lidge worked back to back days for Reading over the weekend, throwing 2 scoreless innings in 2 appearances, Saturday and Sunday. The 34-year-old right-hander said he felt fine on Monday, as though he could have pitched a third straight game.
Expecting to be activated to the Phillies roster on Friday, Lidge closed out his time in the minors with a sigh and a laugh, stating, "Everything feels good...finally!"
In the contest, the two-time defending South Atlantic League Champion BlueClaws got a terrific starting effort from right-hander David Buchanan, who took a shutout into the 7th inning. In a rematch against the team they've defeated to clinch the championship in each of the past two years, Lakewood won the series opener against Greenville, 8-2.
On the day, the 22-year-old Buchanan allowed 2 hits and 2 earned runs, while striking out 7 and walking 2 over 7 strong innings. The win for the SAL All-star Buchanan, his 10th, leads the SAL.
Catcher Cameron Rupp sparked the offense, going 3-for-3 with 3 runs driven in for Lakewood. The 2010 3rd round draft pick, Rupp, has been hot at the plate in July, posting a .407 average in 14 games.
The BlueClaws will continue their three-game series with the Drive on Thursday when last year's top Phillies draft selection, LHP Jesse Biddle (5-6, 3.10) takes on Greenville RHP Scott Swinson (2-2, 2.44 ERA). Game time is 7:05PM.
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