NEW YORK -- Charlie Manuel watched Brad Lidge struggle with reduced velocity and a bad arm slot.
A cortisone shot didn't help enough. A one-week rest didn't solve the problem.
So the Philadelphia Phillies put their struggling closer on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with what the team said was a sprained right knee.
"His leg was bothering him some in spring training," the Phillies manager said before Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the New York Mets. "He always said, 'I can go. Really, I think I can live through it. It will get all right.' We were inclined, well, as long as he thinks he can pitch. We thought it would get better."
Lidge is 13 for 19 in save attempts this season with an 0-3 record and 7.27 ERA in 28 games. Last year, he was 41 for 41 in save chances during the regular season and seven for seven in the postseason as Philadelphia won its second World Series title and first since 1980.
Last Friday, Lidge gave up a two-run double to Andre Ethier in the ninth inning, giving the Los Angeles Dodgers a 4-3 victory. The following day, he have up a tying ninth inning homer to pinch-hitter Rafael Furcal, and the Dodgers went on to win 3-2 in 12 innings.
That was Lidge's last appearance. The DL move was retroactive to Sunday, and Philadelphia filled the roster spot by purchasing the contract of catcher Paul Bako from Double-A Reading.
Lidge returned to Philadelphia and had another cortisone injection. The Phillies said he will start rehabilitation on Wednesday.
"The more that we thought about it watching him, we got more concerned about it," Manuel said, "not because he didn't save the games -- nothing like that. I think the tipping point was merely the fact that when we was putting him in the game about the last three, four times we put him in, his stuff was down."
Manuel said Lidge's velocity had been 92-93 mph, a decrease from about 95-96.
"He's got to rush, and he'll open his front side up and his arm angle gets out here," Manuel said. "The hitter will get a better look at him, but at the same time, he won't have the pop on his fastball. And also, that makes his slider drag and be lazy."
Lidge had surgery to repair torn cartilage in the knee on Oct. 1, 2007, and had his meniscus repaired on Feb. 25 last year. He felt discomfort during a series in Colorado from April 10-12, had an MRI exam on April 20, then had a cortisone shot and didn't pitch in a game between April 25 and May 2.
Manuel said treatment figures to be fairly straightforward.
"Rest and doing the some exercise, the kind of exercise where you can straighten your leg," he said.
"We want him to be healthy. We want him to do whatever he has to do to get back and get back strong," said Romero, who returned last week from a 50-game suspension for a failed drug test.
"It's up to us -- Madson and Condrey and myself -- to get the job done and close the door for us," Romero said.