ST. PETERSBURG -- Brad Lidge is ready for game duty.
The Phillies' expected closer is scheduled to face the Yankees' Minor Leaguers in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, his first game action of the spring. He'll likely start the game and pitch one inning.
The right-hander, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Feb. 25, has progressed steadily, and expects to be ready by Opening Day.
Assuming everything goes well Thursday, Lidge will pitch in a Grapefruit League game on Sunday against Toronto.
While acknowledging that anything can happen, Lidge doesn't see any reason why he won't be ready for Opening Day.
"I don't want to say it's by any means smooth sailing [from here]," Lidge said on Monday. "There could be something, but I don't know what that could be. Right now, [my right knee] feels pretty darn good."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.