General manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who is not with the team in Washington, told Comcast SportsNet on Friday that Lee will probably eventually visit noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.
It would be a surprise if Lee pitches again this season. When Lee was asked if he felt Thursday was his last start of the year, he seemed resigned to being shut down.
"At this point, that's probably the case," Lee said late Thursday night. "I don't know. I want to pitch, I want to do my job. But [if] my body doesn't allow me to do it, then I can't do it."
Righthander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who had high hopes as a starter when he signed a three-year, $12 million contract, has been promoted from Reading to triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he continues to have success as a reliever.
Slowed by a shoulder injury in spring training and then suffering from a tired arm while a starter at single-A Clearwater, Gonzalez was moved to the bullpen on June 20, and he has thrived in that role.
He had a 1.50 ERA in five appearances in relief for the Clearwater Threshers after earlier making three starts.
At Reading, he had a 3.14 ERA in 11 relief appearances. He struck out 24 and walked seven in 141/3 innings. It's possible that Gonzalez, who turns 28 next month, could be with the Phillies before the season is over.
At Reading, Gonzalez's fastball was clocked as high as 97 m.p.h.
"He has been pretty consistent throwing well and is up to the challenge," said Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development in a phone interview. "He needs this and has proven that he needs to be moving up."
In an accompanying move, lefthander Matt Hoffman was assigned to Reading from Lehigh Valley.
Also in the minors, righthander Aaron Nola, the Phillies' No. 1 draft choice in June from LSU, appears to be headed from Clearwater to Reading, but nothing has transpired yet.
Sandberg alluded to the obvious, that Lehigh Valley IronPigs righthander David Buchanan is the likely replacement for Lee in the Phillies' rotation.
"That has yet to be totally determined, but he is a pretty good candidate there," Sandberg said. "He pitched well [Thursday], and he is right on schedule now. I think he is a decent candidate."
Since returning from the Phillies to Lehigh Valley earlier this month, Buchanan has a 3.86 ERA in three starts with 15 strikeouts and four walks in 161/3 innings.
In his most recent outing on Thursday, Buchanan allowed just one earned run in 71/3 innings in a win over Rochester.
During his earlier stint with the Phillies this year, Buchanan was 5-5 with a 4.40 ERA in 10 starts.