CLIFF LEE is expected to wear uniform No. 33, which was his most recent number of choice in his time in Texas.
Lee was No. 34 in his 2009 stint with the Phillies, but Roy Halladay claimed that number and rode it all the way to a Cy Young Award. Baseball folks being a superstitious bunch, it's hard to blame him for not wanting to surrender it.
Not that Lee is soliciting suggestions, but here are some other uniform numbers he might have considered:
4: This is supposed to be the greatest four-man staff in recent memory, right?
13: The number of All-Star games for Lee (2), Halladay (7), Oswalt (3) and Hamels (1). On second thought, No. 13 is too reminiscent of Ralph Branca.
23: Perhaps Lee could channel Steve Carlton, the greatest lefthander in Phillies history, with the inverse of the No. 32 Lefty wore. Only problem is he'd have to pry it away from backup catcher Brian Schneider.
30: This would remind everyone how many millions of dollars he passed up from the Yankees to come to Philadelphia.
31: The number he wore during his best seasons with the Indians, including 2008 when he won the AL Cy Young Award.
36: He wore this during his brief time in Seattle last season, but it is not an option here. The Phillies retired it in honor of Robin Roberts unofficially in 1962 and officially in 2008.
65: Don't laugh. It's the number Lee wore in his first two seasons with the Indians. Besides, it'd be a fine homage to King Dunlap.
"I was under the impression that it was between us and the Yankees," Rangers team president Nolan Ryan said.
The Yankees aren't on the Phillies schedule, but Texas visits Citizens Bank Park for a weekend series May 20-22. *
- Ed Barkowitz