In another steel-toed boot kick to the backside, Phillies closer Brad Lidge is reporting shoulder pain that will likely result in an early season trip to the Disabled List, per the massed beat writers on Twitter.
Although spring numbers for veteran relievers typically mean little, Lidge's struggles this spring -- health and performance -- were notable. His absence will probably mean that free agent-to-be Ryan Madson gets another crack at the closer's job, at least early on, a position he's expressed some consternation about filling, and where he has (anecdotally) "struggled" despite limited opportunity.
1. At least this is the last season on Lidge's contract. Shoulder pain is usually a much bigger long-term "uh oh" than elbow discomfort; 2. The problem is this is also the last season on Madson's contract, Scott Boras is his agent, and it's unlikely he's going to let one of the best relievers in baseball give the Phillies yet another "hometown discount."