Cliff Lee Dealing with A Flexor Pronator Strain in His Left Elbow
The alarming news from Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
It’s a flexor pronator strain for Cliff Lee. Phillies doctors were alarmed enough to send him for MRI. Pitched for three weeks with it.
— Matt Gelb (@magelb) May 20, 2014
Update (10:55 PM EST): Cliff Lee has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, per Gelb.
Gelb notes that Cliff Lee had been pitching through the injury recently. It’s unclear if Lee’s next start against the Dodgers is in jeopardy. MRI results should give the Phillies the information they need to make that call.
It was noted here recently that Lee’s velocity was down a full MPH on his fastball and down in general on all of his off-speed pitches. Lee, 35, has only been on the disabled list once since the start of the 2011 season. He hasn’t suffered any elbow- or shoulder-related injuries in his career, according to Baseball Prospectus.
Obviously, a serious injury for Lee is not only a blow to the Phillies’ chances of competing this season, but it kills his trade value. Lee is owed $25 million for 2014, $25 million for 2015, and has a $12.5 million buyout with a $27.5 million club option for 2016. After that, Lee said he would likely retire. Trading Lee is the Phillies’ best chance to quickly bolster their farm system to regear to become a playoff-competitive team in the near future.
The news isn’t necessarily all doom, though. Info about the injury, via ESPN’s Stephania Bell, circa 2008:
The flexor-pronator muscles provide protection to the elbow joint by countering the torque produced during pitching, so lingering problems here can put the elbow at risk. Treatment begins with rest, while also addressing pain and swelling, followed by soft-tissue work and strengthening. Time lost will depend on the severity of the episode, but you can usually count on a couple of weeks at the minimum. If managed well, this can be a “one and done” type of scenario. As an example of just that, Mariners closer J.J. Putz developed a flexor-pronator strain during spring training but was available to pitch by the start of the regular season and held up well through the remainder of 2007.Stephania Bell, ESPN
In retrospect, however, using Putz as an example of good health looks funny.