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Cliff Lee throws off a mound for the first time since being diagnosed with a left elbow strain

10 Comments’s Jim Salisbury has the story

Cliff Lee says he has made excellent strides in his recovery from an elbow strain over the last few days. The left-hander was able throw from a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list and he was pleased with the results.

“It feels real good,” Lee, who threw 20 fastballs but no breaking pitches, told Salisbury. “I was letting it go pretty hard, pretty much max effort. … I can tell there’s something there, but there’s nothing painful of uncomfortable.”

The veteran left-hander is aiming to return to the Phillies’ starting rotation before the July 14-17 All-Star break. If he achieves that goal and then shows that he is fully healthy, he’ll be a big time target for contending teams leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

Lee, 35, owns a 2.83 ERA (136 ERA+) in 103 starts since joining Philadelphia in 2011.

He is making $25 million this season and is owed another $25 million next season.

Cliff Lee throws a baseball for the first time since May 18

cliff lee phillies getty

Jim Saslibury of has the story …

Cliff Lee has made a small, but positive, step in his recovery from a strained left elbow.

Lee made 35-40 tosses Wednesday in what he called “a light throwing” session. It was the first time he’d thrown since he made his last start May 18.

“He felt normal,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg told following Wednesday’s short throwing workout. “There’s pretty much no sensation in there.”

Lee is on the disabled list currently with a strained flexor-pronator tendon in his left elbow.

If he makes it back before the July 31 trade deadline, he’ll be a prime candidate to be moved.

The 35-year-old southpaw is making $25 million this season and owed $25 million next season.

Cliff Lee is “very close to picking up a ball”

cliff lee getty

Finally a dose of hope for injured ace Cliff Lee …

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg told Matt Gelb at the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday evening that the left-hander is nearly over the discomfort in his pitching elbow and “very close to picking up a ball.”

Lee has been on the disabled list since May 19 because of a left elbow strain and there is still no timetable for his return to Philly’s active roster. If he makes it back before the July 31 trade deadline, he is sure to be a popular target for contending teams.

The 35-year-old owns a spectacular 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 8.9 K/9 in 734 1/3 innings since joining Philadelphia prior to the start of the 2011 campaign. He is earning a $25 million salary this season and owed $25 million in 2015 (with a $12.5 million buyout on a $27.5 million vesting option for 2016).

Cliff Lee can’t start a throwing program because his elbow still hurts

Cliff Lee

For the second straight week Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee has been unable to begin a throwing program because of continued soreness in his elbow.

Lee told Todd Zolecki of that his elbow “is getting better” but the soreness “is still there a little bit.”

It’s also worth noting that Lee admitted to pitching through discomfort for several weeks before finally being shut down and placed on the disabled list on May 19, so either this current soreness is much worse or he’s changed his stance about pitching through pain.

Lee had a 3.18 ERA and 61/9 K/BB ratio in 68 innings before going on the shelf, which is pretty remarkable for a 35-year-old who was apparently hurt for a big chunk of that time and logged some big pitch counts over that stretch.