NEW YORK The Philadelphia Phillies, a 2011 title favorite, will launch their campaign without closer Brad Lidge, who is going on the disabled list due to shoulder pain, Major League Baseball's website mlb.com said Friday.
Lidge struggled Thursday in a spring training game in Florida against the Minnesota Twins and complained about pain behind his throwing shoulder.
The right-hander saved 27 games last season with a 2.96 earned run average. Lidge notched 48 saves in 48 opportunities in Philadelphia's march to the World Series title in 2008.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Ryan Madson or Jose Contreras would close while Lidge was out.
The Phillies, who became a popular team to tip for the championship after they signed free agent starting pitcher Cliff Lee, will also open the season next Friday with second baseman Chase Utley sidelined because of a knee injury.
"This is all part of the game," Amaro told reporters. "Nobody wants any injuries, but we'll deal with them."
Lidge, who said he expected to be able to return in mid-April, will be examined by the team doctor at the club's spring training facility in Clearwater on Saturday and have an MRI test done next week in Philadelphia.
(Writing by Larry Fine, Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)