Lidge makes final Minor League tuneup

Lidge makes final Minor League tuneup

PHILADELPHIA -- Brad Lidge surrendered a home run in his final rehabilitation tuneup.

Pitching on Thursday for Single-A Clearwater, Lidge faced six batters in the first inning, and allowed two hits and a walk, while striking out two.

The team's closer is expected to rejoin the team in Cincinnati on Friday, and be activated in time for Saturday's game. He's been recovering from arthroscopic right knee surgery performed on Feb. 25.

Tom Gordon has served as the closer in Lidge's stead, and hasn't had any leads to protect. He entered two tie games in the ninth inning. He took the loss after allowing five runs on Monday, and walked a tightrope to escape a ninth-inning, 34-pitch jam on Thursday.

The righty insists he's healthy and ready to perform.

"I have to use Monday's [struggle] as motivation," Gordon said. "I have to believe. I didn't come this far not to have fun and help this team win games. You want so desperately to help, but sometimes things don't go our way. When things don't go my way, I have to focus on what I can do to help myself get better, what can I do to pinpoint why it went the way it went."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.