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Lee: Halladay the ace of the aces

SARASOTA, Fla. -- They may have more than one ace in the Phillies starting rotation this season, but the consensus is that the ace of the aces is unquestionably Roy Halladay.

"I'd like to hear somebody argue someone else," lefthander Cliff Lee said after pitching three innings against Baltimore at Ed Smith Stadium. "There is no other argument that makes sense."

Lee, in fact, would argue that Halladay is by far the best in baseball.

"He's the best and he proves it every time he goes out there," Lee said. "He has been for a while, the last four or five years -- six years and probably longer."

Lee spent part of last season pitching with Felix Hernandez, who won the American League Cy Young Award, but he doesn't believe his former Seattle teammate is in the same class as Halladay.

"Felix had a good two or three years, but Halladay has been doing it the last eight or nine years," Lee said. "I'll take the guy who has been doing it longer. Felix is unbelievable. Stuff-wise he has the best stuff I've ever seen, but Halladay has really good stuff and he's able to put it all together and read hitters. Not that Felix can't do that, but Roy has been doing it a little longer and he's smarter with it."

Lee also revealed that he joined the other four Phillies starters in a golf outing with former Atlanta star John Smoltz.

"We played our best ball against Smoltz," Lee said. "He beat us on the last hole. I think he cheated. He's really good. I never proclaimed to be good at all, so it wasn't up to me."

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