UPDATE: Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com spoke with Phillies officials. They say that Lee is “100 percent healthy” and will throw to live hitters as expected on Tuesday.
6:42 PM: The Phillies revealed Sunday that Cliff Lee developed soreness in his side while throwing at home before reporting to camp and is a bit behind the Phillies’ other pitchers.
“He was diagnosed with a mild strain,” GM Ruben Amaro told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We shut him down for a week and now he’s right back on time. We’re probably being a little cautious with him, but he feels great now and he should be fine.”
Caution is certainly recommended, given that Lee opened both the 2007 and 2010 seasons on the disabled list because of abdominal strains. The Phillies didn’t go into detail about exactly where the current strain was, other to say it’s somewhere in his side.
Lee, of course, signed a five-year, $120 million contract with the Phillies back in December. He’s expected to be the team’s No. 2 starter, though that hasn’t been confirmed yet. He could always be pushed back in the rotation in order to give him a little extra time to recovery.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.