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Cliff Lee throws off a mound for the first time since being diagnosed with a left elbow strain

Jun 17, 2014, 11:02 PM EDT

cliff lee getty Getty Images’s Jim Salisbury has the story

Cliff Lee says he has made excellent strides in his recovery from an elbow strain over the last few days. The left-hander was able throw from a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list and he was pleased with the results.

“It feels real good,” Lee, who threw 20 fastballs but no breaking pitches, told Salisbury. “I was letting it go pretty hard, pretty much max effort. … I can tell there’s something there, but there’s nothing painful of uncomfortable.”

The veteran left-hander is aiming to return to the Phillies’ starting rotation before the July 14-17 All-Star break. If he achieves that goal and then shows that he is fully healthy, he’ll be a big time target for contending teams leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

Lee, 35, owns a 2.83 ERA (136 ERA+) in 103 starts since joining Philadelphia in 2011.

He is making $25 million this season and is owed another $25 million next season.

  1. chaseutley - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    $25Mil? Of the 21 players making $20Mil or more, this year, I will take Cilff Lee over 15 of them.

    • aphillieated - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:14 AM

      ikr, look at his numbers since signing with the Phillies.

  2. etchedchaos - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    Not sure why you ended with what he’s being paid, CLIFF LEE is worth every single penny of his contract thus far (and more on top).

    • stupidusername - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      Just about every HBT post about an injured veteran states their contract status. I think it’s just a thing, not just to point out what Lee’s making.

    • jrbdmb - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      So he’s worth $25M (or even more you say) even though he’s going to miss at least a third of the season on the DL and is pitching for a team going nowhere?

      I disagree. Most knew the last few years of his contract were going to be bad – now we’re finding out just how bad.

  3. greymares - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:15 AM

    Good thing there’s a trade deadline, not sure he can get back in the rotation. lol.

  4. greymares - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:21 AM

    There’s no reason to trade Cliff Lee at this time. let him pitch the remainder of the year and trade him before next season. He is the only trade able piece unless Utley waives his 10/5 rights and that won’t happen.

    • jrbdmb - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      Unless the Phillies agree to eat a large percentage of his salary, Lee isn’t going anywhere.

  5. jwbiii - Jun 18, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    There is the matter of his 21 team no trade clause.

    • bfunk1978 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      There are still 8 where they could send him, and I’m sure that some of the others could be waived if they’re contenders this year.

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