UPDATE: Cliff Lee has right abdominal strain

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Update: Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that Lee has a right lower abdominal strain. He was treated in Seattle on Friday be team doctor Edward Khalfayan. Lee underwent an ultra-sound exam and was given a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection.
He’s scheduled to be re-evaluated in one week, but as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes, “you can forget about week one.”
6:33 pm: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that Cliff Lee has left the Mariners and boarded a plane to Seattle, possibly for medical reasons.
The Mariners had no comment on the reason for Lee’s departure, othen than to say that it wasn’t a personal matter. The lack of comment suggests that it’s not related to his recent suspension for throwing at the Diamondbacks’ Chris Snyder.
Lee had foot surgery last month, but he’s returned to make two starts already this spring and he was on track to start Seattle’s second game of the season. Baker speculates that this may be nothing more than a checkup for the foot. If it’s something more serious, we’ll probably know more within the next few hours.

Tony Clark: Universal DH ‘gaining momentum’ among players

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.