Phillies closer Brad Lidge was forced to begin the 2011 season on the disabled list due to a partially torn rotator cuff. It wasn't a season-ender, but it was a partial season-ender, as Lidge and all Phillies officials targeted a return somewhere around the All-Star break.
After being cleared by doctors, though, Lidge began a throwing program that to date has gone well, and now it appears that he's a little ahead of schedule in his recovery. Via David Hale:
Lidge will throw another bullpen up here then head to ext spring Sunday. Said could be back in as little as 3 weeks. #Phillies
Three weeks from today might be a little optimistic, but then, it also might not, and considering the All-Star break doesn't begin until July 11, Lidge is definitely exceeding earlier expectations.
Jose Contreras will return to the Phillies' bullpen first, but Lidge will be right on his heels as the team will try to put all of its injury problems behind it in advance of the second half. Remarkably, even without Contreras and Lidge for long stretches, Phillies relievers have a combined 2.80 ERA. So they've done a great job of surviving adversity.