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Irish In The Majors

Brad Lidge might not pitch again in 2012. After bouncing back from hernia surgery on May 1, the right-handed pitcher from Notre Dame (1996-98) was activated by the Washington Nationals on June 8 after missing six weeks. Lidge worked the first third of the ninth inning against Boston, giving up a hit, an earned run and a walk with no strikeouts in a set-up role.

He worked a full inning five days later in a victory over Toronto, allowing no hits. But it was a meltdown in back-to-back games against the New York Yankees on June 15-16 that pulled the plug on his time in Washington. In just a combined inning in the two contests, Lidge gave up four hits and five earned runs, prompting his release from the Nationals.

His ERA climbed to 9.64 in 11 appearances this season. Some are speculating that Lidge is not healthy, though he claims to be fine. It was just four years ago that Lidge capped a 2008 season with Philadelphia with the final out in the World Series against Tampa Bay after converting 41 of 41 save opportunities and posting a 1.95 ERA.

• John Axford (2002-2005), RHP, Milwaukee Brewers: The 6-foot-5 closer has a 5.04 ERA with 43 strikeouts, 18 walks and 13 saves this season. Over his last six innings, Axford has given up four hits and three earned runs for the Brewers, which are in fourth place in the National League Central Division and seven games behind first-place Cincinnati.

• A.J. Pollock, (2007-10), CF, Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks reinstated outfielder Chris Young from the disabled list May 18 and optioned Pollock to Triple-A Reno. Pollock was hitting .229 with a homer and four RBIs in 20 games with the Diamondbacks. He was brought back up on May 30 for one game against San Francisco, did not play, and was optioned back to Reno, where he’s hitting .322 with 29 RBI in 49 games.

• Jeff Samardzija (2004-06), RHP, Chicago Cubs: Lost six of his last eight starts after winning four of his first six to start the season. His ERA has climbed to 5.05 with 85 strikeouts and 34 walks. The former two-sport star for the Fighting Irish routinely made it to the seventh inning earlier in the year, but hasn’t lasted beyond the fifth over his last five outings. He gave up nine earned runs in 4.1 innings of work in his last start against the New York Mets on June 27.

• Kyle Weiland (2006-08), RHP, Houston Astros: What was thought to be shoulder bursitis eventually deteriorated to the point Weiland had to undergo surgery May 1 for an infection. An MRI revealed no structural damage and doctors performed an arthroscopic procedure and the timetable for his return from the disabled list is unclear. Weiland is 0-3 in three starts with a 6.62 ERA. He began rehab on May 9 and is expected to return soon.

• David Phelps (2005-08), RHP, New York Yankees: After two starts in the Yankees' rotation, David Phelps returned to the bullpen with the return of Andy Pettitte. Phelps lasted a total of 8 2/3 innings in his two starts and allowed two runs on nine hits en route to a 1-1 record. The 25 year old was responsible for a 4-3 loss at Detroit on June 2 after giving up two hits and an earned run in 1/3 innings and was sent down to the minors. He was called back up in late June and pitched 3.1 innings out of the bullpen on June 29 against the Chicago White Sox. He allowed four hits and two earned runs in the 14-7 defeat. Phelps has a 3.16 ERA with 34 strikeouts for the Yankees, which boast a six-game lead in the American League East.

• Jeff Manship (2004-06), RHP, Minnesota Twins: The 27-year-old reliever, has made eight appearances for the Twins this season, allowing 13 runs on 18 hits for a 10.97 ERA for the Twins, which are in last place in the American League Central with a 33-45 record.

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