Cliff Lee (left) will miss Saturday's start because of a stiff neck and Raul Valdes will start in his place. (AP)
DETROIT -- The timing made the suspicion run rampant. With the trade deadline approaching, Cliff Lee’s scratch from Saturday’s start with a stiff neck during the early innings of Friday’s 2-1 loss at Comerica Park (see story), some wondered if a trade was in the works.
ESPN.com is reporting that the Phillies are listening to possible deals involving Lee.
The truth is, Lee and manager Charlie Manuel say the pitcher has a stiff neck and has had it for a few days. According to Lee, the neck injury may have happened from sleeping in the team hotel in St. Louis.
As if the sweep against the Cardinals wasn’t bad enough, it’s possible Lee got a stiff neck from a bed.
“I was getting loose for my bullpen and I could feel it on just about every throw,” Lee said. “I tried to see if it would go away as I threw and it didn’t and it hasn’t since then. Feels like it’s getting a little better.”
Raul Valdes will start in Lee's place against Detroit All-Star Max Scherzer.
Lee has not seen a doctor, though he expects to visit with one when the team returns to Philadelphia following Sunday’s game.
Manuel said he doesn’t think it’s an injury that will cause Lee to go on the disabled list.
“We’ll have to wait and see. I’m sure he’ll be able to pitch when he gets well and can move his neck and stuff,” Manuel said. “We don’t think it’s going to be a DL [injury], but we’ll have to wait and see.”
In 20 starts this season, Lee is 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA. In his last two outings, Lee has allowed nine runs on 16 hits with seven of those hits going for homers.