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ESPN: Phillies favored to land Heath Bell

The Phillies, who have an embarrassment of riches in the starting rotation already, now may be in position to improve their bullpen a great deal.

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Phillies are the favorites to land Padres closer Heath Bell before the non-waiver trade deadline July 31. Olney notes, however, that the Cardinals, Angels, Rangers and Yankees are also in the fray. The Padres have been reported lately to be scouting the Cardinals minor league system. But there is thought that the Birds might be interested in other San Diego bullpenners besides Bell.

Philadelphia got discouraging news yesterday about incumbent closer Brad Lidge who is on a rehab assignment in the minors. In 2/3 of an inning, he walked two, hit two, gave up a hit and a run and threw three wild pitches in his most recent outing. In addition to poor control, his velocity is lacking. His fastball sat in the high 80s. But Lidge did report that his arm feels good. So maybe it's a matter of working out some of the cobwebs.