CLEARWATER — Two veterans essential to the Phillies bullpen are moving forward this week in their rehabilitations. LHP J.C. Romero faced a hitter for the first time in 2010 on Wednesday, and closer Brad Lidge is finally scheduled for game action this afternoon.
Romero, 33, recovering from October elbow surgery, threw 25 pitches to minor-league C Francisco Diaz in a bullpen session. Romero was encouraged and said that though a return by opening day was unlikely, it was not impossible.
"I will pitch in a game when my body tells me I'm ready to go," he said. "Ninety-five percent is not going to cut it."
Lidge, 33, who had elbow surgery in November and knee surgery in January, is set to pitch in a minor-league game. He plans to throw fastballs and sliders and avoid overexerting himself.
"I will be so excited to finally get out there, but I have to be careful and make sure that, even if I feel good, not to do too much," the right-hander said.
Yanks: Chamberlain makes progress
CLEARWATER — RHP Joba Chamberlain, in danger of falling out of the race for the fifth starter's job, pitched a strong four innings in the Yankees' 6-2 loss to the Phillies.
"Outstanding," manager Joe Girardi said. "He worked quickly, attacked the zone."
Chamberlain, 24, showed the aggression, particularly in throwing his fastball inside, that Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland had been imploring him to.
Additionally, Girardi said "pace" was one of the biggest differences he noticed in Chamberlain compared his last outing March 10 against the Tigers, when he allowed six runs in 21/3 innings. Chamberlain allowed one run to Philadelphia.
"I thought he worked quicker today, I thought his mechanics were sound today," Girardi said. "And he attacked."
PETTITTE DEBUTS: LHP Andy Pettitte allowed two runs on five hits in four innings in his first spring outing. "They've got a real good team, so it's a real good challenge for me to start trying to make pitches to that lineup," he said.
Jays: Rotation candidate impresses
SARASOTA — LHP Brian Tallet helped his bid for the fifth starter's job, allowing one hit over four innings and retiring the last 12 batters he faced to lead the Blue Jays to a 4-1 victory over the Orioles.
In Tallet's other start this spring, he allowed four runs and four hits in two innings to leave his ERA at 18.00. He also served up two home runs and issued two walks.
"Anytime you can go out there and make your pitches the way you want to make them middle of camp, trying to get tuned up — you're always happy," said Tallet, 32.