March 16, 2015
They say Father Time is undefeated, and unfortunately for the Phillies, Cliff Lee looks very much like his latest victim. After attempting to throw with a tear in the common flexor tendon in his left elbow, the 36-year-old starting pitcher has been shut down for awhile. Specifically, the Phillies are placing Lee on the 60-day disabled list. Here's the statement that the team released:
The outlook is bleak. Doctors have recommended season-ending surgery as the proper course of action, but Lee and the Phillies have decided to hold off. After an injury-plagued 2014, it's apparent that Lee wants to pitch this season. He told a group of reporters in Clearwater that trying to rest for a couple of months still provides him with the option of having surgery if his arm doesn't heal properly.
"As of right now, I'm going to give myself some time," Lee told reporters. "Like Ruben said, we tried that twice and it didn't work, so it's fairly likely that [the elbow] will remain the same. As we get closer to the threshold of being able to have the surgery or not to make it for next year, I'll have a decision to make. Obviously, we'll know a lot more at that point."
Going the rest route is a long shot, and it seems like both Lee and Ruben Amaro, Jr. know that. There's a good chance that Lee will need surgery if he hopes to pitch again. Lee doesn't want to close the book on 2015 just yet, though, and the team seems alright with that decision.
"The one benefit from our angle is at least he's giving himself a chance to maybe again pitch for us at some point this year taking this route," Amaro told reporters.