Phillies shut down Cliff Lee with pitching elbow discomfort


The Philadelphia Phillies have shut down starting pitcher Cliff Lee due to discomfort in his throwing elbow.

The Philadelphia Phillies will scratch starting pitcher Cliff Lee from his scheduled Tuesday start. The cause is due to lingering discomfort in his pitching elbow, according to a report from ESPN. Lee, a 13 year MLB veteran, underwent an MRI on Friday and his results are expected to be evaluated by famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews early next week.

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“Any time it’s the elbow, you have to be concerned,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, via ESPN. “We have to be concerned because it’s the area he felt something before.

“We don’t think it’s acute, but we have to be cautious.”

Throughout his career, Lee has built up a reputation throughout the league as a true “workhorse.”

Prior to 2014, he had thrown at least 200 innings every season since 2008, the year he won the American League Cy Young Award.

Last season, however, injuries limited the perennial all-star to just 13 starts. In those games, he went just 4-5 with a 3.65 ERA, and 72 strike outs in 81.1 innings pitched. His 102 ERA+ was his lowest since 2007.

The 36-year-old is part of a Phillies rotation that many feel is the franchise’s weakest in years. Outside of Lee, the team has only one other “ace” on staff, Cole Hamels.

Outside of that, the projected back-end of the starters are set to feature Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, and David Buchanon.

Harang, a former all-star in his own right, has not been even remotely close to sharp since his 2007 season, when he went 16-6, with a 3.73 ERA, and 218 strike outs. Since then, he is just 59-79, with a 4.27 ERA (91 ERA+).

Jerome Williams, despite good numbers with the team last season, has never been a reliable starting pitcher, spending the majority of his career in relief capacity. Prior to his time in Philly, Williams was struggling to keep a major league job to the tune of a 6.71 ERA in the AL in 2014. His resume, which dates back to 2003, and includes a three-year hiatus from the show, is not all that much better.

There is a silver lining with Buchanon though. He will be just 26 in May. With only one full season under his belt, there is plenty of time, and room for improvement. And to be fair, a 99 ERA+ is not horrendous for a rookie campaign.

Nevertheless, the Phillies need to bank on the health of Lee for even a prayer at making a postseason run in 2015. The rotational depth behind him is way too much of a mixed bag for any manager to feel comfortable with during the long haul of a 162 game grind.

Couple that with a lineup that produced just the 23rd most runs in the major last season, and this news has the potential to be a nightmare scenario for the Phils.

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