Phillies Notes: Phillies' Cliff Lee fixes a flaw with his footing

Clearwater Dragons pitcher Hunter Lea, who threw out the first pitch Sunday, has a word with Cliff Lee, who took it from there.
Clearwater Dragons pitcher Hunter Lea, who threw out the first pitch Sunday, has a word with Cliff Lee, who took it from there.
Posted: March 07, 2011

LAKELAND, Fla. - There is no deep philosophical significance to the epiphany Cliff Lee had in the short span of time between his bullpen warm-up session and Sunday's 5-4 win over Tampa Bay. It was good timing, though.

"Yeah, I saw a light, and it told me to do something, and I did it," Lee quipped. "Bam. It's amazing."

The Phillies lefthander said he had been making the same mistake over and over early in spring. On Sunday, he struck out five Rays in an efficient four innings while allowing two hits and no runs.

"I tried to apply it today, and it worked," Lee said. "Minor little something. I don't want to sit here and get into detail."

Pitching coach Rich Dubee gladly obliged.

"His foot," Dubee said. "His plant foot was twisted instead of staying square against the rubber. He was turned toward first base too much, and then he couldn't get back on line. He wants to stay square with the rubber. It's something he fell into. He felt it, made the adjustment, and pretty much fell into place."

Lee wasn't terrible in his first spring start, but he uncharacteristically hit a batter and walked another. There was none of that Sunday.

"That's what spring training is about," Dubee said. "That's why repetition is so important. You have to get on the mound and feel things again. He's probably had a gun - or a bow, or whatever he hunts with - more than he's had a ball in his hand the last four months. He had to get a ball back in his hands."

Kendrick sharp, too

With a split squad on the road to play Detroit, Kyle Kendrick was afforded a chance for his first start of the spring. He made quick work of the Tigers, allowing one hit in three innings.

The righthander is the sixth wheel in a rotation with five solidified spots. He is owed $2.45 million in 2011 and will most likely begin the season in the bullpen as the long man.

Kendrick said he believes he has a spot on the team.

"We need a long man in the pen," Kendrick said. "I've pitched out of the pen and done well. I think it speaks for itself. We need a guy there, someone to fill Chad [Durbin's] role. I think Chad and I are pretty similar."

The Phillies will continue to stretch Kendrick out as a starter. He is scheduled to make another start Saturday.

Extra bases

The Phillies won and lost on walk-off hits Sunday. Reserve catcher Joel Naughton had the game-winning hit in Clearwater, Fla. On the road in Lakeland, Matt Anderson took the loss when Detroit's Scott Thorman singled home the winning run of a 2-1 Tigers victory. . . . Anderson, the former No. 1 overall pick who is in minor-league camp attempting a comeback, was clocked at 99 m.p.h. on the scoreboard's radar gun. He hovered around 94-96 m.p.h., but the Detroit batters made solid contact on most swings. . . . Against the Rays, Ryan Howard hit his second home run of the spring. Brian Schneider and Matt Rizzotti also homered.


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com.

Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/magelb.

Columnist Phil Sheridan contributed to this article.

 

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