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Brad Lidge(notes) was simply awful last year. If you kept him around for the 31 saves, you paid a terrible price. Lidge's ERA was 7.21 and his WHIP was 1.81. There were elbow and knee issues. He lost eight games and recorded 11 blown saves, yet his manager remained pathologically dependent.

And now Lidge is back! Hooray, Lidge!

Fantasy baseball is more fun when he's in the game. Lidge is expected to be activated from the disabled list prior to Friday's series opener against the Mets. Ryan Madson(notes) has been the ninth inning placeholder for the Phillies during Lidge's absence, and he followed last year's script perfectly: 9.0 IP, 4 SV, 2 BS, 7.00 ERA, 1.78 WHIP. He obviously hasn't seized control of the closer's role, so we can reasonably expect Lidge to return to save-blowing responsibilities soon.

How soon? Well, his manager won't say. This from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Manuel wouldn't commit to Lidge as the closer yet.

"I don't know," Manuel said Wednesday. "We'll have to see where we're at with that. I'll just play it by feel. I'll talk to him first and see where he's at and how he feels."

Update, 2:10 pm CT: Madson has been placed on the 15-day DL with a broken right big toe. This would seem to clear the path for Lidge.

On Tuesday, Lidge pitched two perfect innings at Double-A Reading, striking out four. The Inquirer reports that his fastball velocity was in the low-90s. That's an improvement on the scary-low numbers we were hearing just a few weeks ago, but it's certainly not vintage Lidge.

At his peak, of course, Lidge's average fastball was in the 95-96 mph range. Last year's average fastball was 93.6, and he was terrible. And now he's returning. He has a certain Jose Mesa(notes)/Jason Voorhees flair that we can't help but admire.

Best of luck, Lidge owners.

If this were any other pitcher coming off a bad year and multiple surgeries, we'd advise you to keep him benched or DL'd for a few days. But the whole point of Lidge ownership is to thrill-seek. Follow your heart, gamer.  

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Photo via US Presswire

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