Veteran left-hander Cliff Lee was limited to 81 1/3 innings (13 starts) last season due to elbow trouble, and he’s apparently not done with that battle.
Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Lee is complaining of discomfort in his left elbow after throwing two innings Thursday in his Grapefruit League debut. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com says Lee had an MRI on the elbow Saturday and it showed no structural damage to his ulnar collateral ligmanet. It’s a flexor pronator problem — the same thing that plagued him in 2014.
Lee was supposed to be trade bait this spring or summer for the rebuilding Phillies, but it’s hard to see a team biting from this current vantage point. The 36-year-old is due a $25 million salary in 2015 and his $27 million vesting option for the 2016 season carries a whopping $12.5 million buyout.
TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.
Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.
If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.
“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”
Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.
The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.
Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.