Cliff Lee managed to avoid surgery after being limited to just 13 starts last season due to a flexor pronator strain, but he’s still a big wild card coming into 2015. The Phillies hope to get a sense on his progress soon.
According to Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said yesterday that Lee is expected to throw off a mound in the next week to week and a half. The veteran southpaw has been long-tossing without pain, but the Phillies aren’t sure what to expect from him yet. Amaro could probably best be described as cautious:
“That will be a good test for him, and we’ll find out more about how he’s progressing,” Amaro said before noting the lefthander’s health is “still a question mark, and until he’s pitching in spring training and pitching like we hope Cliff Lee will pitch, then we’ll know that he’s healthy and ready to go.”
Lee, 36, is owed $25 million this season and his contract includes a $27.5 million club option with a $12.5 million buyout for 2016. With the Phillies in rebuild mode, he will likely become a trade candidate if he can prove his health and effectiveness.
With the caveat that the guy tweeting this isn’t considered the most reliable guy on the planet, I offer you this:
I really don’t follow the Phillies clubhouse dynamics terribly closely, so I’ll defer to Bill or some of you commenters who know about this stuff more than me, but I find this rather surprising. Mostly because I can’t remember any dustups in the Philly clubhouse outside of some bristling at Ryne Sandberg over the past year. All of which I chalk up more to a veteran team not much liking losing and, possibly, not much liking a change in habits and routines.
Part of me wonders if this isn’t a function of a Phillies team wanting to unload pricey veteran players with big contracts, realizing they won’t get a ton of value for them and wanting to set the stage to make up for that publicly by arguing it was addition by subtraction or some such when they get pennies on the dollar. Wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has been done.
Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee was shut down for the season on July 31 after the reoccurance of a strained flexor tendon in his elbow that sidelined him earlier in this season, so the 36-year-old’s status is a big question mark going into the offseason.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has never been particularly forthcoming about injuries, but for whatever it’s worth he told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that Lee “is improved” and there’s a “high” level of confidence in his being ready for Opening Day.
Salisbury reports that both Dr. James Andrews and Dr. David Altcheck agreed that Lee won’t require surgery and can instead heal from rest and rehab, which includes platelet-rich plasma injections and plans to begin a throwing program in November.
Lee is under contract for $25 million next season, plus $27.5 million or a $12.5 million buyout for 2016.