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Lidge out, Mathieson in?

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With Brad Lidge likely to start the season on the disabled list, the Phillies are left looking to fill the closer role until Lidge is able to mend.

Ryan Madson was one of the names that surfaced, but many suggested he’s not suited for the spot after blowing half of his 10 save opportunities last season and recording a 46.7% success rate over the last five years. Now, the Allentown Morning Call reported that Rich Dubee said that the Phillies could possibly look outside the organization for bullpen help. Why not give Scott Mathieson a chance?

The right-handed Mathieson, who has a 2.00ERA over nine innings so far this spring, was sent down to finish spring training with the minor league club on Saturday. But would it not make more sense to give the reliever a shot?

Mathieson’s major problem last season, when he set a franchise record with 26 saves for the IronPigs, was his control. The Phillies organization hired Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter to help with that. The 27-year-old also added a splitter this offseason to go along with his fastball, which can reach 100mph.

In 2009, with three minor league teams, the British Columbia native went 4-0 with a 0.84 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 32.1 innings. Last season,with the ‘Pigs, Mathieson’s ERA rose to 2.80, but he did have stretches of rock solid play. In fact, Mathieson was 5-for-5 in save opportunities and recorded a 0.61ERA over the first 14.2 innings he threw last year.

This season’s demotion hasn’t really helped Mathieson’s confidence. After being dismissed from the big league camp he said, “I’d love to be a Phillie…but moreso I want to be a big leaguer. If they don’t see a need for me, I’d like to go somewhere else.”

While Mathieson would be a smart decision for the Phillies until Lidge can get healthy, it looks like Philadelphia will take a different route to fill the position.

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