Cliff Lee almost ready to take mound again after minor foot surgery

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Cliff Lee gave Mariners fans a scare earlier this month by undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs from his left foot, but it looks like reports of the operation being “minor” will prove accurate.
Lee is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session of the spring next Wednesday, which would actually put him slightly ahead of the initial recovery timetable issued by the Mariners. Here’s how Lee explained the situation to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times:

The doctor looked at it and found this bony mass at the top of my foot. I was told I could do two things: either have surgery on it right away or start taking these shots to numb the pain and keep taking them all season. No way I was going to do that, so I had the surgery. I’m getting around pretty good on it right now.

Definitely the right decision, because trying to pitch through the pain would have been a mistake and there’s still more than enough time for Lee to get ready for Opening Day. In fact, if he can get on a mound next week and avoid a setback he’ll basically be right on schedule with the rest of the pitching staff.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.