Elbow Again Troubling Cliff Lee
By Matt Veasey
LEE HEADED FOR TOMMY JOHN SURGERY?
Per a report from ESPN, the Phillies have once again shut down Cliff Lee after the lefty experienced discomfort in his pitching elbow following his successful outing on Thursday vs the Astros.
On Friday, Lee underwent an MRI which reportedly showed no ligament damage. As quoted by the New York Post, GM Ruben Amaro said there was “very mild inflammation” in the elbow.
Still, the team is concerned enough that they have forwarded the MRI results on to Dr. James Andrews, the internationally known orthopaedic surgeon. They have also decided that he will be skipped from his next scheduled start this coming Tuesday.
“Any time it’s the elbow, you have to be concerned.” ~ Amaro on Lee
In a session with reporters, GM Ruben Amaro addressed the situation further: “You have to be alarmed. Any time it’s the elbow, you have to be concerned. We have to be concerned because it’s the area he felt something before. We don’t think it’s acute, but we have to be cautious.”
This sounds disastrous for the Phillies, who were hoping that Lee would return healthy and productive, making himself a valuable trade chip. Scouts from a number of organizations were present in Port Lucie when he shut Houston down on 2 hits earlier this week in his first outing.
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Thus Lee returned productive. He apparently, however, has not returned healthy.
The Phils have to hope that Andrews finds nothing in his exam. A best-case scenario at this point is that Lee will simply be eased back into action slowly as his arm allows. A worse-case scenario is undoubtedly Tommy John surgery.
If Lee had to undergo the ligament replacement surgery, with normal recovery and rehab he would be approaching 38 years of age on his return around the middle of next season. The bottom line might be that this is a career-threatening situation.