Lee ready for return, says “whatever” to trade talk


Mar 31, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee reacts after giving up a three RBI double in the second inning and a visit from pitching coach Bob McClure (left) of an opening day baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Global Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cliff Lee hears the talk about being dealt as the Major League Baseball trade deadline approaches, but his focus is on getting back to the mound.

“Whatever,” Lee said.  “It is what it is.  It’s out of my control.”

Lee is set to return Monday night when the Phillies open a four game series against the San Francisco Giants.  His main focus is getting back to pitching well and without restrictions.

“I’m eager to just get back on the mound and help the team win. I’ve been out for two months now and I’m ready to just do my job.”

He has spoken with manager Ryne Sandberg about his return Monday and stated he was not looking forward to coming out of the game whenever that may be.

“We’ll have to see how his stamina holds up and where his innings are,” said Sandberg.  “We’ll keep an eye on him.”

The 35-year-old is 4-4 at the big league level this season, but was hit around in a rehab tune up on Monday with Class A Clearwater.   Despite the rough outing Lee says he feels strong and is throwing pain free.  This could be good news for potential Lee suitors as he will get two starts in before the trade deadline, giving teams a chance to assess his ability at this point.

Lee is signed through 2015 with a vesting option for 2016.  He is owed over $10 million this season and $25 million next season.

Despite trade rumors about Cole Hamels, the Phillies have said they would rather trade Lee.

“Right now I’m a Phillie,” said Lee.  “I’m ready to help this team win.”