Cliff Lee's discomfort in his pitching elbow has worsened but a decision is not imminent. According to Jake Kaplan of Philly.com, Lee is considering all of his options after being placed on the 60-day disabled list on Monday afternoon. For the third time, he will not to have surgery to repair a tear in his common flexor tendon.
Season-ending surgery is possible for Lee, and a disabled list stint that could last up to eight months during the final year of his contract with Philadelphia may not be enough. A procedure was not recommended by doctors last summer, and the surgery could possibly end Lee's pitching career.
Lee was expected to give the Phillies veteran depth in 2015, however after the latest setback may not throw for at least a few months. Following his first start of the spring, Lee felt discomfort in his elbow, and an MRI revealed the tear that kept him sidelined for most of last season. Lee , who attempted to pitch through the injury in the days following the start, only made 13 starts for Philadelphia in 2014.
By avoiding surgery, Lee is hoping he can pitch again at some point this season. He is due $25 million in 2015, with a $12.5 million buyout for 2016. Cole Hamels will serve as the club's ace again this season, with Aaron Harang and Jerome Williams also expected to be slotted into the rotation at the end of the spring. General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is hoping to fill the rotation spot with an internal option since the Phillies are rebuilding.
David Buchanan and Miguel Gonzalez could win the final two starting spots, but the Phillies also have non-roster invitees such as Kevin Slowey and Paul Clemens that can be looked at. Chad Billingsley, who is returning from shoulder surgery, is expected to be slotted into the rotation by May, with lefty Joely Rodriguez also a candidate to take Lee's spot in the rotation.