Lidle welcomes change of scenery

Lidle welcomes change of scenery

NEW YORK -- Cory Lidle hasn't set foot in the Yankees' clubhouse yet, but he has already made it clear that his attitude reflects that of his new teammates: anything short of winning is unacceptable.

It may seem like an obvious attitude for a professional athlete, but Lidle believes that his former teammates in Philadelphia didn't always share that same passion.

"I'm the kind of player who goes to the field every day expecting to win," Lidle said. "Over the last few years, I haven't had a clubhouse that expected to win with me. On days I was pitching, it was almost a coin flip as to whether the guys behind me were going to be there to play 100 percent.

"I know that's not going to be the deal here in New York," he continued. "That's the reason I'm most excited to come over here. I think I'll fit in well and be able to take my game to the next level."

Lidle steps into an ideal situation, slotting into the No. 5 spot in the rotation behind Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Chien-Ming Wang and Jaret Wright. Lidle replaces Sidney Ponson, who moved to the bullpen to replace Shawn Chacon (traded to Pittsburgh) as the long man.

"Ponson wanted to stay and be a part of this, so he'll swing over to the bullpen," general manager Brian Cashman said while discussing the deal that sent Chacon to the Pirates for Craig Wilson. "That opened up the situation that developed here late in the deadline."

Lidle went 8-7 with a 4.74 ERA for Philadelphia in the first four months of the season. His 125 1/3 innings pitched led the Phillies' staff, though he would rank fourth on New York's list. The Yankees are hoping that Lidle can provide six or seven solid innings per start, giving their offense a chance to do its damage and not have to climb out of a hole.

"The expectations are going to be a lot different, and that's what I'm most excited about," Lidle said. "A lot of the other guys in [the Phillies'] clubhouse didn't all go there with one goal in mind. Everyone liked to win, but they didn't expect to win. I think being with 24 other guys that come to the clubhouse every day and expect to win will raise my level of play."

Lidle has pitched in the American League before, and pitched well for that matter. His best season came in 2001 with Oakland, as he went 13-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 29 starts. The A's made the postseason that fall, but Lidle was torched for four runs in 3 1/3 innings in his only start -- a Division Series loss to the Yankees.

"As long as I do my homework and have a plan -- and I believe in that plan -- I've been able to execute my pitches to a pretty high percentage," Lidle said. "As long as I do that, I don't think there will be any kind of hard adjustment to come back to the American League."

Lidle's first opportunity to help his new team will come Thursday, when he takes the ball at Yankee Stadium against the Blue Jays. That gives him two games to get a feel for his new surroundings, though he didn't sound like that would be a chore for him.

"This is unbelievable," he said. "I had heard my name for a couple of weeks, from teams like the Twins and Brewers, but never heard anything about the Yankees until Monday morning. I'm as happy as I have ever been in my Major League career."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.