PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. --- The day after his first start since July 31, Cliff Lee felt discomfort in his pitching elbow while going through his normal routine. It was the same area of his elbow that limited the lefthander to just 13 starts last season and cost him the final two months of the season.
The results of an MRI displayed "little to no changes," from Lee's previous tests, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. Renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews will read the images of Lee's elbow Monday or Tuesday to offer a second opinion.
Lee, 36, will miss his scheduled Tuesday start. Amaro said the Phillies are hopeful Lee will make his next start. The former Cy Young Award winner will re-start his throwing program on Monday, Amaro said, after the dye from the MRI clears out of his elbow.
"Hopefully he'll be able to make his following start," Amaro said, "but I'll talk with (pitching coach Bob McClure) and (manager Ryne Sandberg) and with Cliff and we'll see how he feels moving forward to see how altered his schedule will be. But it will depend on how he feels when he starts throwing again."
There is nothing wrong with Lee's UCL, Amaro said.
"None of the area that is supposed to be affected has changed," Amaro said. "There's no change from the last MRI we did once he finished. And he had thrown so much since then without really feeling anything until this last outing. We shouldn't say it's not alarming because it is of concern. It's the same area. But there's no increase in the original affected area."
Lee, expected to address the media on Monday, may have to pitch through the discomfort.
"There's a couple of different things that can happen," Amaro said. "He can pitch through it and it could be scar tissue breaking up and it could be resolved. He threw the next day (after his first spring start), on Friday and Saturday. And as he threw, he got better.
"Typically it's the other way around where you start throwing and it gets progressively worse. But again, we have to be alarmed. We have to be concerned because it's the same area and he's feeling something. I don't think it's acute but it's a concern because it's the same area that he had issues with last year."