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Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge resigned to missing start of regular season

Closer Brad Lidge is confident his arm strength is returning.

He's equally certain he'll still be in Florida when the Phillies open the regular season.

"I'm sure I will," the right-hander told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It seems very likely."

Lidge, who is recovering from offseason elbow and knee surgeries, did some long tossing in Clearwater while his teammates were facing the Twins in Fort Myers. He then pitched an inning against Blue Jays minor-leaguers, throwing 20 pitches and allowing a hit and a run.

Lidge has yet to pitch in a major-league game this spring. Neither has LH reliever J.C. Romero, who is coming off elbow surgery.

NOW YOU KNOW: LHP Cole Hamels saw a bit too much of AL MVP Joe Mauer, who had two hits and two RBIs in the Twins' 8-4 win. "When I do have to face him, I now know how to pitch him, I think," Hamels said. "Don't throw anything near the plate."

Jays: Frasor hangs on to closer job

DUNEDIN — RHP Jason Frasor, who had 11 saves last season as a part-time closer for the Blue Jays, appears to have won the full-time gig.

"Jason Frasor was my closer last year, and he hasn't done anything to lose the job," manager Cito Gaston told the Toronto Sun.

Frasor, 32, had been competing with LHP Scott Downs and RHP Kevin Gregg for the job. Last season, he posted a 2.50 ERA in 572/3 innings over 61 appearances. He had 56 strikeouts and 16 walks and held hitters to a .209 average.

OVERBAY OKAY: 1B Lyle Overbay took infield practice after an MRI exam showed no structural damage to his left knee. Overbay was injured Friday in a collision with Rays LF Carl Crawford.

Yanks: Joba toughs out rocky ninth

LAKELAND — Joba Chamberlain's first outing since he was sent back to the bullpen was a bit of an adventure.

The result was just fine.

The right-hander allowed two hits and struck out one during a scoreless ninth, earning the save in the Yankees' 2-1 victory over the Tigers.

It was his first game since manager Joe Girardi said Thursday that RHP Phil Hughes will be the team's fifth starter, beating out Chamberlain and three other candidates.

"A lot of guys came in and worked hard, and we didn't make anybody's decision easy," Chamberlain said. "That was our goal as guys coming in. I'm excited about being able to get the opportunity to help this team. We'll go from there."

Chamberlain is in the mix for the setup role before closer Mariano Rivera.

Fast facts

Yankees

Where: George Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa. Today: vs. Tigers, 1:05, Tampa. Information:

yankees.com

Phillies

Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Today: vs. Pirates, 1:05, Clearwater. Information: phillies.com

Blue Jays

Where: Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Today: vs. Orioles, 1:05, Dunedin. Information: bluejays.com

Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge resigned to missing start of regular season 03/27/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 28, 2010 2:31am]

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