Phillies Notebook: Phils' Lee says elbow improving

Posted: May 28, 2014

CLIFF LEE says his strained left elbow is improving, but it appears the Phillies lefthander will need more time to heal before he returns to the mound.

After a scheduled re-evaluation by the Phillies' medical staff yesterday, Lee was not cleared to start throwing. When put through tests, the former Cy Young Award winner said he could still feel the small spot on the edge of his bone where his flexor tendon attaches.

Lee, on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 19, is set for another evaluation on Thursday, according to the team.

"It's definitely better," Lee said. "There's no doubt about that. It's better than it was. But it's still there . . . Whenever I can do some of the tests that they put me through, if I can do that without any feeling at all, then I'll start throwing. But until then I've got to continue to work on it and let it heal."

When Lee was placed on the DL, the Phillies diagnosed him with a grade 1/2 elbow strain. He said yesterday "there's not much debate" the original diagnosis is the correct one.

As far as a timeline for his return once he does pass the tests, Lee isn't sure.

"I don't think it's possible to even know that right now," said Lee, who before the injury was 4-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 10 starts. "I know that if I felt good today, it was going to be another week or so and hopefully come back after the 15 days is up. But as of now, it looks like it's going to be longer than that."

Hernandez gets look

When Cody Asche landed on the disabled list Sunday with a left hamstring strain, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. didn't rule out the possibility of 21-year-old prospect Maikel Franco getting his first big-league call-up.

But come yesterday, Franco was in Lehigh Valley's lineup for the IronPigs' win at Norfolk. Cesar Hernandez, meanwhile, started his fourth consecutive game at third base for the Phillies.

Before yesterday's 9-0 win over the Rockies, manager Ryne Sandberg offered his evaluation thus far of Hernandez, a natural second baseman still adjusting to playing on the other side of the diamond.

"I think he's looked good on routine plays," Sandberg said. "I think he's showed his arm over there. This is a time for him to get a look over there and gain some experience. That was something that was a little uncertain on what he would look like or how he would react over there. But I think he's been fine over there."

In his return to the IronPigs' lineup, Franco went 0-for-3 with a walk. He had missed the previous two games because of an illness.

Tulo keeps hitting

It appeared the Phillies might catch a break when Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies' hot-hitting shortstop, exited Sunday's game in Atlanta after injuring his left ankle on a backswing. But when Colorado's lineup card was posted yesterday afternoon, Tulo was on it, hitting third and playing shortstop. He went 2-for-4.

The 29-year-old, three-time All-Star entered yesterday leading the major leagues in batting average (.375), runs scored (45) and OPS (1.205) and tied for the National League lead in home runs (14) with the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton.

When the Phillies visited Colorado April 18 to 20, Tulowitzki was 7-for-9 with three doubles, a home run and six RBI.

"When we saw him he was very impressive and I've kept tabs on him," Sandberg said. "He's having an MVP type of a year in the National League."


The Phillies are 19-4 in their last 24 home games against Colorado, dating to 2008 . . . Ryne Sandberg hinted yesterday that Darin Ruf would start in leftfield tonight against lefthander Jorge De La Rosa (5-3, 3.91) . . . Jonathan Papelbon is a save shy of the 300th of his career, a mark only 25 pitchers in major league history have reached . . . Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis severely sprained an ankle during the team's celebration of Beckett's no-hitter on Sunday in front of the mound at Citizens Bank Park, according to the Orange County Register. Ellis, who did not play in Sunday's game, was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

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