"We'll see," pitching coach Rich Dubee said when asked if Lee could be ready to return five days from Friday.
Lee has already 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.
If everything goes according to plan, the Phillies will have a seasoned contingent of veterans training together in Clearwater in the near future.
First baseman Ryan Howard is already down at the spring training complex continuing his rehab from a ruptured Achilles. The Phillies hope that second baseman Chase Utley will join him in the near future. Tuesday, injured utility man Michael Martinez will be headed there after team doctor Michael Ciccotti cleared him to take the next step in his rehab on Monday.
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.
Heading into Monday's game, 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's game. "You can't give them away."
The first inning of Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Cubs was a microcosm of the Phillies' offensive struggles during the first three-plus weeks of the 2012 season. Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a fly ball that dropped into shallow right-center for a base hit, but was quickly eliminated at second base when Pierre grounded into a force out. Then, with one out, Pierre was thrown out at second when he attempted to advance on a Matt Garza pitch that eluded Wellington Castillo.
Herndon to the DL
David Herndon felt something in his elbow during the ninth inning of the Phillies' 5-1 loss to the Cubs on Sunday. Monday, the joint still hurt. Tuesday, he is scheduled for an MRI. In the meantime, the Phillies have placed the right-hander on the 15-day disabled list, with a corresponding roster move to be made before Tuesday's game.