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Lidge imparts wisdom to young Phillies bullpen

MLB.com

MIAMI -- In four years with the Phillies, closer Brad Lidge tallied 100 saves and was a force to be reckoned with out of the bullpen. Now, the right-hander has returned to help Philadelphia's staff of relievers -- but this time, off the field.

For the entirety of the Phillies' series with the Marlins at Marlins Park, Lidge has been in and around the clubhouse, working with the team's young pitching staff. He spent time before and after each game imparting his experience and wisdom from a prolific 11-year career as Philadelphia prepares for a pennant chase in the second half.

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MIAMI -- In four years with the Phillies, closer Brad Lidge tallied 100 saves and was a force to be reckoned with out of the bullpen. Now, the right-hander has returned to help Philadelphia's staff of relievers -- but this time, off the field.

For the entirety of the Phillies' series with the Marlins at Marlins Park, Lidge has been in and around the clubhouse, working with the team's young pitching staff. He spent time before and after each game imparting his experience and wisdom from a prolific 11-year career as Philadelphia prepares for a pennant chase in the second half.

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"Just being able to talk face-to-face with guys instead of watching them on TV has been nice," Lidge joked, donning a Phillies warmup jersey in the dugout before the team's afternoon contest with Miami.

Lidge and the Phillies' front office have been organizing this type of reunion since Spring Training, and the former Phillie will be returning for a road series with the D-backs in August.

"With how much guys are going to be throwing in the second half and how many important games there are going to be, it's just an important thing to make sure that I can relay what I know about taking care of your arm and everything else come September," Lidge said. "All of a sudden you get to that month and it's like every single game you play is tied or one run. You want to be able to get through that and still feel good in October."

Relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek already have postseason experience and know what it takes to pitch into the fall, but Lidge rationalized his presence with the team as an opportunity to reinforce what the veterans have been teaching Philadelphia's younger pitchers all season long.

"For some of the young guys, it'll be real important that they do the right maintenance and everything else," Lidge said. "Tommy has pitched in the playoffs, obviously Pat has too, but the more people you can get going over stuff, the better."

Video: PHI@BAL: Dominguez fires a perfect 9th, picks up save

Specifically, Lidge had his eye on Seranthony Dominguez, saying the 23-year-old's fastball is loads better than the two-time All-Star's heater ever was. Lidge also supported the Phillies' decision to avoid titles in the bullpen, closing by committee.

"He's one of those guys -- him and [Victor] Arano both at the end of games -- and obviously [Edubray] Ramos, they're all feeling very confident right now. Me coming down here isn't anything to do with changing the way they are pitching. It's more of a reminder of staying locked in to that, how you're going to approach things and being smart, taking care of your arm," Lidge said.

"Seranthony could certainly be a closer and he could probably embrace that role and do great, but if he's buying into what you're doing right now and you can use him in the seventh or eighth inning in high-leverage situations, do it. Obviously, the proof is in the pudding."

Video: PHI@NYM: Arano strikes out Mesoraco for the save

With Sunday being the final game before the All-Star break and the Phillies still sitting in first place in the National League East, Lidge emphasized the stress of pitching for a postseason spot down the stretch, when game pressure is intensified exponentially.

"They are going to be in for games even when you're down by two runs. All of a sudden you're pitching like it's a tie game or you're up by a run," Lidge said. "Having that every single night brings a whole other layer of having to be focused night in and night out. … They are learning it right now and going through it right now."

Max Goodman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow him on Twitter @Max_Goodman97.

Philadelphia Phillies