At the very least, we can say that Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee will not be ready to return from the disabled list when he’s first eligible, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that he’s still feeling some soreness in his elbow and hasn’t been cleared to resume throwing.
Lee was placed on the disabled list after his last start on May 18 due to a Grade 1-2 strain of his flexor-pronator tendon. The veteran southpaw was examined by team medical personnel today, after which Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said that he’s “improved,” but just “not ready.” The plan calls for him to be reevaluated in three days.
Prior to the injury, Lee had a very typical 3.18 ERA and 61/9 K/BB ratio in 68 innings across 10 starts. The 35-year-old has been mentioned a possible trade candidate if (or when) the Phillies fall out of things, but he’ll obviously have to prove his health and effectiveness before there’s any chance of that. He’s making $25 million this season and another $25 million next year.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.