CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies closer Brad Lidge will start the regular season on the 15-day disabled list while he rehabilitates his knee following arthroscopic surgery last month.
Lidge has resumed pitching in minor league games, but the Phillies decided the right-hander couldn't get enough innings in before spring training ends.
Tom Gordon will fill in at closer for the 31-year-old Lidge, who is eligible to come off the DL on April 5.
"It's not what I wanted," Lidge said. "I was trying to get ready as fast as possible and unfortunately in the end my arm strength is behind. I was trying basically to cram four weeks of spring training into a little over a week."
The hard-throwing right-hander hasn't pitched in Grapefruit League games this spring. Lidge made his first minor league, intrasquad appearance Thursday. He made another Sunday, allowing a walk and two hits before getting out of trouble with a double play.
"[Sunday] was just one of those outings where it just wasn't me yet," Lidge said. "It was the first time I felt like I might need a little bit more than I thought."
When the team breaks camp Thursday to fly back to Philadelphia, Lidge will stay in Florida. He's expected to pitch three times this week and next week before possibly reuniting with the club in Cincinnati for its fifth game of the season.
"He's just not there yet, he needed the [extra] time," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "He's sitting on just two or three [spring innings] right now; it's not enough time to get him ready and it's not fair to him to place him in that situation."
Lidge was the key offseason acquisition for the Phillies, who strengthened their bullpen and starting rotation in one move. Getting the former All-Star closer from the Houston Astros allowed the team to move Brett Myers back into the rotation.
In other news, there is no timetable for when Kris Benson, who is coming back from rotator cuff surgery, will throw off a mound. The right-hander has been playing catch.