Trio of Hurting Pitchers Show Promise

It's all good news on the body part front. Brad Lidge's knee is feeling better, Adam Eaton's back is feeling better and Kris Benson's arm is feeling better, too.

The Phillies put three wounded pitchers through a bullpen session in Clearwater Monday and all three came through just fine.

Adam Eaton, who confirmed earlier in camp that he's been battling back problems, was officially diagnosed with a slight disc herniation in his back, but said it felt fine during Monday's session. Eaton stressed that he was able to extend better than he has been throughout camp.

The Phillies have changed Eaton's training routine to running in a pool rather than in the outfield to help ease pressure on his back. His bullpen session lasted for 41 pitches.

Brad Lidge had knee surgery and is still questionable for opening day, although he remains optimistic. Lidge said that he literally didn't even feel his knee and didn't think about it at all during the session.

Kris Benson is on his way back from rotator cuff surgery and pitched in a minor league game on Saturday. He felt no pain during the game or since and also reported that he felt good during the bullpen session on Monday. The Phillies must put Benson on the 40 man roster before March 25th or risk having him exercise an out clause in his contract. Benson believes that he's actually ahead of schedule and has shown the Phillies enough that it won't come down to the deadline date.

Each pitcher has a different path ahead of them. Eaton will throw another bullpen session on Wednesday and will pitch in a game Saturday for the Phillies. Lidge will throw a bullpen session Wednesday, followed by either another bullpen session or a simulated game on Friday, which will hopefully have him ready for pitching in a game after that. Benson will pitch in another minor league game on Thursday and a decision will be made after that as to whether he'll continue pitching in minor league games or will be used in a Phillies spring training game.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee monitored all three sessions and said he was pleased with what he had seen from each pitcher.

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