Opening Time: Lidge to nowhere

We begin this collection of Friday notes with an ominous tweet from's Todd Zolecki:

Brad Lidge has shoulder pain. Said he will not be ready to start the season. He is concerned.

Lidge was recently shelved for several days due to biceps soreness, and his velocity has been stuck in the mid to high-80s all spring. Simply put, this is a scary closer. If Ryan Madson is available in your league, make the add. And if he's gone, consider Jose Contreras.

Update, 3:00 pm CT: Wait, whoa, hold up there a minute. In Friday's 3-1 win over Atlanta, Jose Contreras earned the save, pitching a perfect ninth with two Ks. Ryan Madson picked up a hold. Fantasy advantage, Jose.

Update No. 2, 12:15 pm CT, Saturday: Philly manager Charlie Manuel has been asked about his bullpen's hierarchy, but he offered nothing useful. This from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Manager Charlie Manuel said he is not ready to choose between Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras. … Manuel did say he's likely to pick one pitcher rather than using a two-man committee.

"We'll see," Manuel said. "I don't have to name one today."

And so we wait. Same Lidge fire drill we go through every year, it seems.

In other (bad) Phillies news, Chase Utley's persistent knee issues are going to force him to the DL to begin the season. Philadelphia has offered no timetable on this injury; Utley has been unable to participate in infield practice, although he's taken BP.

Florida outfielder Mike Stanton has been sidelined by quad problems this spring, but he made his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday, and it went reasonably well. He hit two bombs off Clay Buchholz and drove in seven runs. Highlights here.

By now you've no doubt heard that Jays starter Brandon Morrow (elbow) is expected to open the season on the DL. The pitcher himself doesn't sound too concerned about the injury, however. This via the Toronto Star's Richard Griffin:

"I was surprised," a subdued Morrow said. "I didn't think that I would need to go on the DL, that's for sure. I thought maybe we'd take a couple of days, throw a bullpen, then make my scheduled start on Monday. My elbow feels all right. I've got full extension. It doesn't bother me at all. It's fine. I didn't have any concerns before the MRI and it showed that there wasn't any serious problems, like with a ligament or anything, just a little inflammation."

There might actually be a nice buying opportunity here. Morrow is exactly the sort of high-K pitcher you should pursue in Yahoo! public-style formats, leagues in which you're dealing with an innings max.

Jon Heyman tweets that Kevin Millwood has signed a minor league deal with the Yankees, and there are leagues where this information is meaningful. Do what you must. Bartolo Colon has had a terrific spring for the Yanks (2.40 ERA, 17 Ks, 1 BB in 15.0 IP), so there's a decent chance that New York's rotation will eventually look just like your 2003 fantasy pitching staff.

Important Giants' news here: Brian Wilson is reportedly "50/50" to begin the season on the DL, according to GM Brian Sabean. Also, Brandon Belt has not yet been assigned to the minors; he'll apparently make the trip to San Francisco for exhibition play.

Atlanta right-hander Brandon Beachy has won the fifth spot in the Braves' rotation, leaving Mike Minor the odd man out … for now. Jair Jurrjens has some health concerns, so it's possible that Minor's services will be needed early in the year. In any case, don't sleep on Beachy. Check his 2010 minor league numbers. Not too shabby. Over 45.2 innings at Triple-A, Beachy struck out 48 batters, walking six, and he delivered excellent ratios (2.17, 1.01).

Brent Morel has won the third base gig for the White Sox, but he's not someone you need to add for mixed league purposes. There's only modest power/speed potential here. He hit .322/.359/.480 across two minor league levels last year, at age 23, with 10 homers and eight steals.


Photo via US Presswire

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