Cliff Lee struggled in a minor-league rehab start Monday at Single-A, allowing eight runs and failing to make it out of the fifth inning as he comes back from elbow problems, but the Phillies have decided he’s ready to rejoin the rotation.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Lee will come off the disabled list to start Monday against the Giants, in Philadelphia. It’ll be Lee’s first big-league start since May 18 and he told Salisbury: “I feel strong and I feel good and I’m ready to try to help the team win.”
At this point it seems pretty safe to assume that the Phillies would love to trade Lee and the $37.5 million remaining on his contract beyond this season, so there should be a ton of scouts in the crowd Monday night. He’ll have time to make two starts before the July 31 deadline, but because of his contract and the likelihood it’ll clear waivers the Phillies should be able to deal him in August without having their options limited.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.