CLEARWATER, Fla. --- Phillies lefthander Cliff Lee will try to throw through the common flexor tendon tear that limited him to 13 starts last season and after an offseason of rest and rehab still lingers in his pitching arm this spring.

The team received on Tuesday the second opinion of renowned orthopedist James Andrews, who agreed with Phillies team doctor Michael Ciccotti. The tear looks the same as last year, according to Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan.

The Phillies, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, are "not terribly optimistic, but there's still a possibility that he can come back and throw and throw with a minimal amount of discomfort."

"We've tried to do this, rehab him non-surgically twice now, and the next order of progression, I guess, would be to have a surgery if it doesn't pan out," Amaro said. "Or at least that would be I think the suggestion from the doctors. Again, we're not to that point yet because we have to wait to see how he does with his throwing progression moving forward."

Surgery would sideline Lee six-to-eight months. The 36-year-old and former Cy Young Award winner is on the final guaranteed year of perhaps the final contract of his playing career.

"Right now, I think that everyone's in agreement that we would let Cliff continue to toss a little bit and see where we go with it," said Sheridan, who spoke with Andrews directly. "Ultimately, if this fails, then we have to decide medically what we do from there."

Lee played catch on Tuesday morning and "felt OK," according to Amaro. He "didn't really feel anything different, a very, very mild sensation he's got in there," the general manager said. "He's just going to continue to throw and if it gets worse and worse then he might have to shut it down and we'll figure out where we go from there."

Lee pitched two scoreless innings against the Astros on Thursday, his first start since July 31. It wasn't until Friday when the elbow discomfort resurfaced.