TRENTON, NJ- A pair of Phillies big leaguers thrilled fans in attendance on Saturday night at Waterfront Park, home of the Trenton Thunder. On rehab assignments with Class Double A Reading, relief pitcher Brad Lidge and Gold Glove Award winning outfielder Shane Victorino contributed to a convincing victory, as the R-Phils won in a rout, 13-2.
At the plate, as the team’s designated hitter, Victorino, who has been sidelined with a right thumb injury, went 3-for-5 with two singles and a double, while driving in a run. The right-handed Lidge, out with shoulder and elbow ailments, breezed through a 1-2-3 inning on 12 pitches, striking out one batter, inducing a fly out and throwing out the third batter on a come backer to the mound.
The 30-year-old Victorino experienced discomfort in his thumb during batting practice and in the game. He was sure it was something that he could and should play through.
“The pain’s tolerable and that’s all that I was worried about,” Victorino said. “It didn’t get worse throughout the game and that’s a good step for me.”
Victorino, who batted first in the Reading lineup, wore a guard on his thumb while running the bases, but used no additional gear while batting. He declared that there is no pain at all when he throws.
Lidge looked and felt as good as he has all year. The 34-year-old expressed satisfaction with his effort on Saturday, as he bounced back from 3 wild pitches, 2 hit batsmen and a walk in 2/3 of an inning in his previous rehab outing with Reading on Thursday. Lidge’s command of his pitches was his greatest concern as he continues to move forward.
“(My fastball command is) what I focused on today,” said Lidge. “Everytime you go out, you’re trying to accomplish something to get you closer to Philly. Last time out, I was trying to get more on the fastball and (my) control wasn’t great, so this time I told myself to get my control better and it was. That’s a good sign…when I can make adjustments from outing to outing, that’s a good sign.”
With his fastball peaking at 89 MPH, Lidge proclaimed that he held back a bit on the mound, in the interest of locating his offerings.
“I backed off a little bit tonight to make sure my command was there. It felt like I could rear back and throw more tonight, and maybe I would have had good command with that too, but tonight, I really wanted to focus on control,” Lidge stated.
The sell-out crowd of 8,137 seemed to be wearing more crimson red than navy blue, as the Phillies’ affiliate visited the Yankees’ Double A club. The recovering former All-star closer, Lidge, acknowledged the turnout after the game.
“Just like everywhere we go, there’s a large Phillies following and it’s no different here,” Lidge stated. “We just have a large network or fans everywhere. They travel well.”
Like Lidge, Victorino was pleased with the turnout, expressing excitement over the reception he received from the heavily Phils favoring crowd.
“That was great to get an ovation my first at bat and also, when Brad came in, the ovation they gave him,” Victorino said. “That’s a testament to our fans…how happy we are as players to have fans like that, that travel everywhere to watch us play.”
Both players will continue their rehab assignments with Reading on Sunday at 1:05PM, in the fourth and final game of their series in Trenton. Victorino expects to play 9 full innings in center field. He is eligible to be activated from the disabled list this coming Tuesday. Lidge is slated to make one additional rehab appearance for Lakewood on Wednesday, then expects to be activated from the disabled list on or around next Friday, July 22nd.
Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor. You can read more from Jay by visiting his site, PhoulBallz.com.