CLIFF LEE TALKED a little smack with former Texas Rangers teammates on Tuesday.

According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, Lee sent Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler a text message that read: "It was great playing with you. Sorry, but see you in the World Series."

Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter said he reminded Lee that the teams play each other May 20-22 in Philly.

"I told him, 'Don't leave one over the plate if I'm throwing against you,' " Hunter said. "If he leaves one over the middle of that plate, buddy, it might be Justin Smoaked right back over his head. He started laughing and said, 'You'll be lucky if you get a foul tip.' "

Truth be told, both said they'll miss Lee.

"I'm happy for the guy," Kinsler said. "It's disappointing that he's not going to be wearing a Rangers uniform next year. But that's the great thing about free agency. He's earned that right and he's at a place that he obviously wanted to be at."

Hunter agreed.

"It's hard to see him go," he said. "He was a good guy, a good person. He took care of me. He's a good friend. I'm sure it's going to stay that way."

Shaq performing noteworthy task

Shaquille O'Neal conducts himself pretty well on the basketball court. On Monday, we'll see how he conducts himself in front of an orchestra.

That's when the Celtics center will take over for Keith Lockhart and lead the Boston Pops in Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" during a concert at Symphony Hall.

Let's hope Shaq is better waving a baton than he is shooting free throws.

Can Mayor Nutter throw a fastball?

Forget Joe Blanton. The Phillies are so confident their Fab Four can carry the season that they've already decided on a new fifth starter.

It's going to be whoever throws out the first pitch that day.

- Tom Mahon