Cliff Lee is in wait-and-see mode.
Four days after pitching in his first Grapefruit League game, Lee is waiting to get the go-ahead to play catch again. He is waiting for the Phillies to receive a second opinion on his MRI results from renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.
Here is all of what Lee had to say today about his once-again ailing elbow:
Q: Are you throwing today?
Lee: "I think so. Either today or tomorrow. Yeah. We'll see."
Q: What happened between Kissimmee and the next day?
Lee: "Basically I threw Thursday, felt fine and normal like I told you guys after, and then the next day I came in and started to do my warmup stuff and felt a little something in the same spot where I felt it last year. Obviously as soon as I felt it I told the trainers and staff. We have an ultrasound machine here. When they did the ultrasound you could still see the injury from last year. As far as I know, that's normal. They were telling me you'll always see it in those ultrasounds and MRIs. So they saw that, then they wanted me to get an MRI to make sure it was that. Did that (Sunday). And then, the same thing, they could see the same injury from last year. There's some mild inflammation around it. That's really it. I know they were sending the images to Andrews to let him look at it and obviously get a second opinion. He's arguably the best in the world at stuff like that. Ciccotti and him are going to communicate and come up with a plan for what to do. That's really all I know at this point."
Q: Last time before Friday you felt that sensation?
Lee: It's been months. It's been months. And it was really mild, but, it's just concerning because I knew what it turned into last year, and I just wanted to be open, Iw wasn't trying to hide anything. I truly felt nothing for months and then all of a sudden there it is after the first time I pitch in a game. I was open and honest with our trainers and hoped to nip it in the bud as quick as we can and hope that it's just a little twinge or something from really cranking it up the first time in a while.
Q: Is there a chance this could just be scar tissue?
Lee: Yeah that's obviously what we're hoping. That's a possibility, but time will tell on that one.
Q: Having gone through all of this last year, this has to be disappointing and discouraging though...
Lee: Obviously very disappointing with all the stuff I did in the offseason to prevent something like this from happening. It's frustrating. There's still a possibility it's scar tissue and it's normal but there's also the possibility it's coming back and that's very frustrating. I just know I did everything to prevent it. That's really all I could do so there's nothing I look back and say, I should have done this, I should have done that. That's not the issue. So long as I'm satisfied with how I prepared there's nothing more I can do.
Q: Do you have to hear from the doctors before you throw again?
Lee: I don't know. I was going to go in after I talked to you guys and find out what's going on. Yesterday I did the arthrogram MRI where they put the fluid in your elbow. Yesterday I was pretty sore from that. Today I still feel it a little bit. I don't know if they want me to throw or not. I feel like I could but at the same time, at this point another day is really not that big of a deal. We'll see what they say on that.
Q: How daunting would it be to come back from a possible surgery?
Lee: Yeah it'd be 6-8 months out. So basically if I have the surgery this season will be done, possibly my career I guess. I don't know. We'll have to see.
Q: Ruben (Amaro Jr.) said yesterday every doctor consulted last summer didn't reccommend surgery, correct?
Lee: We had (Michael) Ciccotti, (David) Altchek and (James) Andrews, all three are the best in that area. And they all said last year it's in the upper 90s percent chance it'll heal just fine with rest and like three percent chance you might need surgery. Obviously you're going to take your chances on rest and rehab and that's what we did so potentially I'm the three percent that needs surgery and potentially it's scar tissue breaking up and it's normal. But I think it's early to know which one it is.
Q: Have you thought about having to readjust your pitching style?
Lee: I felt like I've changed everything I needed to change to prevent. I don't know how to go out there and be anything other than what I am. I just wish it didn't exist. I wish it wasn't a problem. At this point there's nothing I can do about it, other than listen to the advice of our trainers and medical staff and try to do everything I can to get back on the field and play. Because that's obviously what I want to do. That's what I'm here for. That's really it.
Q: Would you be surprised if you went out there today or tomorrow and didn't feel anything?
Lee: I would probably anticipate feeling a little something. But you don't know until you do it. It's not like it's a major pain, it's not like it's majorly painful. It's what it felt like at the start of when I started feeling it last year. Knowing what I know now, my body does the same deal, then it's probably going to come back. But there's still a chance that it's scar tissue and it's normal.
Q: Can you damage it more by pitching through it?
Lee: That's a question for the doctors. I don't know. I was wondering the same thing. I could try. I want to try. We'll see what happpens.