Lidge sharp in return; Figueroa designated

Lidge sharp in return; Figueroa designated

ATLANTA -- Right-hander Nelson Figueroa hugged a few Phillies teammates Monday morning before he left Turner Field.

He might not be back.

The Phils designated Figueroa for assignment to make room for closer Brad Lidge, whom they activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Lidge threw a perfect inning in Monday's 9-3 loss to the Braves.

Lidge struck out Melky Cabrera swinging and got Martin Prado and Jayson Heyward to ground out in the eighth. He got each hitter out on sliders.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he will work back Lidge before he returns to the closer role, but said that might not take long.

"Very close [to 100 percent]," said Lidge, who had been out with inflammation in his right elbow. "That little extra kick normally comes when you're closing games out. I actually feel really good right now. For me, it's just going to be getting out there as often as possible. Things feel pretty good, considering I've been out for most of the first couple months."

As for Figueroa, if he clears waivers, the Phillies could outright him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. But because he is out of options, Figueroa must accept the assignment or become a free agent. He would have 72 hours to make that decision.

Figueroa said he is not sure if he would accept the assignment.

"I'd have to think about it," Figueroa said. "I do know the situation here, which is good to know. The grass isn't always greener. I've done that before. I really like the makeup of this team. I like the clubhouse, the staff, the front office, the management. Everyone has been straightforward with me from Day 1."

Philadelphia could have optioned left-hander Antonio Bastardo to Lehigh Valley to keep Figueroa. But Bastardo has pitched well. He is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 appearances, allowing just four hits and five walks and striking out 11 in 8 2/3 innings.

Figueroa is 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA in nine appearances, including one start. He had been used infrequently.