UPDATE: Lee has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
8:39 p.m. ET: According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Lee has aggravated his flexor pronator strain. It’s probably safe to say that his season is over.
You can watch video of Lee leaving the game here. It’s really quite sad to watch. You can see the frustration and disappointment written all over him.
8:11 p.m ET: No trades for the Phillies today and now this: Cliff Lee was forced to exit his start against the Nationals tonight in the third inning with an apparent arm injury.
Lee gestured toward the dugout after throwing an 85 mph cutter to essentially let the training staff know that he was done. As Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com notes, the veteran left-hander also pointed toward his elbow, which is a bad sign considering he just missed two months with a flexor pronator strain. He was rather emotional in the dugout after leaving the game, so it doesn’t look good, but we’re still waiting on official word.
Lee, 35, is still owned nearly $46 million through 2015. This includes $25 million for next season and a $12.5 million buyout on a $27.5 million club option for 2016.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.