MILWAUKEE – Cliff Lee pitched four innings for Single A Clearwater in his second minor-league rehab start on Wednesday night.
Pitching against the Tampa Yankees in Tampa, Lee allowed four hits and three earned runs. He walked one and struck out four. He threw 59 pitches, 44 strikes.
Lee was hurt by some poor defense in the game.
Phillies officials have said Lee will need at least one more rehab start. That is likely to come on Monday for Clearwater. If Lee is healthy, he could return to the Phillies’ rotation as early as five days later while the team is in Atlanta.
Lee has been on the disabled list since May 20 with a strained left elbow.
If Lee continues to make a smooth recovery and returns to the Phillies’ rotation on schedule, he will make three starts before the non-waiver trade deadline. The lefty is expected to draw great interest on the trade front, but three starts might not be enough time for rival teams to evaluate a pitcher who is coming off an elbow injury and is owed $37.5 million after this season.
If Lee is not traded by July 31, he could go in an August waiver deal or be moved in the offseason. Then again, the Phillies could decide to keep him. It seems more likely, however, the team would look to use him as a trade chip to bring some young talent into a system that needs some.