Cliff Lee has been placed on the disabled list by the Philadelphia Phillies after an MRI exam on Tuesday revealed a strain in his left elbow. The initial hope appears to be that he’ll only need to rest and he will not be forced to miss significant time. The team will reportedly re-evaluate his in a week before determining their next course of action.
MLB.com’s David Furones reports that Lee has been dealing with tenderness in his elbow for the past three weeks but has continued to pitch through it. That discomfort became worse during his most recent start on Sunday, prompting an evaluation by team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti following the game. It was Ciccotti who ordered the MRI, according to GM Ruben Amaro Jr:
He’s battled some elbow tenderness for about three weeks. He’s been able to pitch through it. He felt a little more uncomfortable in his last couple of innings Sunday. He saw Dr. Ciccotti and Dr. Ciccotti felt it was alarming enough to order the MRI.
The 35 year old left-hander has continued to be among the top pitchers in the Major Leagues in recent seasons. He’s thrown well over 200 innings in each of the past six seasons and had already logged 68.0 on the 2014 season. He’s 4-4 through his first ten starts, with a 3.18 ERA and 1.279 WHIP.
Philadelphia has struggled across the board that start the season and may have already found themselves out of playoff contention. The team has twenty games in their next twenty games, a stretch that could have a significant effect on how they approach the rest of the season and the July trade deadline. With the team out of it there’s a chance that Lee could have been one of the more attractive options available on the trade market but it remains to be seen how this injury could affect that possibility. He’s still owed $25 Million for the 2015 season with a potential vesting option for 2016.