CLIFF LEE will miss at least one more start as he continues to recover from the left oblique strain that has kept him out of game action since April 18.

The lefthander has yet to throw a bullpen session since he suffered the injury 2 days after his third start of the season. Lee has been throwing off of flat ground throughout his time on the disabled list, which leaves the Phillies hopeful he will not need much in the way of mound work before returning to the active roster.

"We'll see," pitching coach Rich Dubee said when asked if Lee could be ready to return 5 days from Friday.

Lee already has missed two starts since straining his oblique in a bullpen session in San Francisco. Righthander Kyle Kendrick replaced him both times and is expected to do so again in Washington on Friday, when the Phillies are scheduled to face dynamic righthander Stephen Strasburg.

No Thome update

The Phillies did not provide a medical update on injured slugger Jim Thome on Monday afternoon, but it is clear that his recent back injury will prompt the team to handle the 41-year-old with caution.

Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro Jr. entered the season hoping that Thome could start one or two games per week while Ryan Howard recovered from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles' tendon. But Thome is just 2-for-18 with 10 strikeouts, three walks and no extra-base hits this season. On Saturday night, he started at first base for the fourth time this season, but left in the fifth inning after feeling his back tighten while sliding into second base.

Health report

If everything goes according to plan, the Phillies will have a seasoned contingent of veterans training together in Clearwater, Fla., in the near future. Howard is already down at the spring training complex continuing his rehab. The Phillies hope that second baseman Chase Utley (chronic knee trouble) will join him soon.

Monday, injured utility man Michael Martinez headed south after team doctor Michael Ciccotti cleared him to take the next step in his rehab. Martinez broke the fourth metatarsal in his right foot when he was hit with a pitch in the seventh inning of a Grapefruit League game against the Orioles on March 20 in Sarasota, Fla.

It remains to be seen where Martinez will fit once he is ready for game action. Freddy Galvis has impressed the team with his defensive performance at second base. And backup infielder Pete Orr had three extra-base hits in 18 at-bats. The Phillies have the option of sticking with Orr and Galvis, instead sending Martinez to Triple A Lehigh Valley. A lot will depend on when Utley finally makes it back onto the active roster.

Pierre off base

Heading into the Monday's series finale against the Cubs, Juan Pierre was one of the team's most consistent hitters, carrying a .318 batting average and a .348 on-base percentage. But he also led the team in outs on the base paths, having been caught stealing twice, picked off once and thrown out at second while attempting to advance on a passed ball.

While Pierre had reached base 24 times, he had been eliminated on the base paths four times. If you only factored the times that he reached base and remained there into his OBP, the number would drop from .348 to .290.

"Especially when you aren't hitting, it works against you, because you only get 27 outs," first base coach Sam Perlozzo acknowledged before Monday night's game. "You can't give them away."