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Lidge taking break from academia to assist Phils

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Fifteen minutes into an archaeological dig in central Italy last summer, Brad Lidge uncovered an ancient Roman coin.

"You just never know what you're going to find out there," Lidge said Wednesday morning at Bright House Field. "Honestly, I guess it's kind of like digging in the dirt when you're a kid and try to find buried treasure. That's not really what archaeologists are about, but I get to go from playing a kid's game to not growing up too much by digging in the dirt."

Lidge is studying online at the University of Leicester for his Master's in Roman archaeology, but he returned to his kid's game roots Wednesday, when he put on a Phillies uniform to be a guest instructor for eight days. Lidge famously threw the final pitch in the 2008 World Series, securing the franchise's second world championship. He hopes to impart some of his experiences to some of the team's younger pitchers.

"This is a good chance for me to get down here, talk to some of the younger guys and get in the mix a little bit," he said. "I think when [general manager] Ruben [Amaro Jr.] asked me to do this in January, when I came out and talked at the rookie seminar, I kind of jumped at it. I thought it's a chance for me to get back in the mix, talk to the younger guys, see what's going on and try to get back in the culture of things."

Lidge hopes to sit in the bullpen over the next week and discuss baseball with the team's relief pitchers: Talk games plans, routine, preparation.

Comcast SportsNet had interest in Lidge as a broadcaster, but Lidge declined before an offer could be made. He is not sure if that is in his future, although he currently enjoys working with MLB Network Radio.

It helps that Lidge broadcasts from his home.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy that a lot," he said. "I am enjoying radio stuff. I don't know if broadcasting is the right avenue. As I've said before, I was flattered with the opportunity to possibly have a position in that, but i think right now, something like this goes a long ways -- slowly getting back into being involved with the Phillies organization in little ways like this. And at the same time, keeping a radio job. It allows me to stay in touch with baseball in a pretty fun way."

The archaeological digs take a few weeks every summer, but don't expect Lidge to turn into the next Indiana Jones. He enjoys baseball too much.

"I still find myself, even if I'm not doing anything, I'm turning on MLB Network on TV, so I still love watching the game and being a part of the game," he said. "That's probably going to trump anything I ever do."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
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