Cliff Lee coming back from mild side strain

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UPDATE: Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com spoke with Phillies officials. They say that Lee is “100 percent healthy” and will throw to live hitters as expected on Tuesday.

6:42 PM: The Phillies revealed Sunday that Cliff Lee developed soreness in his side while throwing at home before reporting to camp and is a bit behind the Phillies’ other pitchers.

“He was diagnosed with a mild strain,” GM Ruben Amaro told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We shut him down for a week and now he’s right back on time. We’re probably being a little cautious with him, but he feels great now and he should be fine.”

Caution is certainly recommended, given that Lee opened both the 2007 and 2010 seasons on the disabled list because of abdominal strains. The Phillies didn’t go into detail about exactly where the current strain was, other to say it’s somewhere in his side.

Lee, of course, signed a five-year, $120 million contract with the Phillies back in December. He’s expected to be the team’s No. 2 starter, though that hasn’t been confirmed yet. He could always be pushed back in the rotation in order to give him a little extra time to recovery.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.