-- CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Philadelphia Phillies officials said Tuesday that Dr. James Andrews agrees with the team's diagnosis that the MRI of Cliff Lee's torn common flexor tendon shows no apparent change, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the club is "not terribly optimistic" that the left-hander can avoid surgery.
Lee threw lightly Tuesday, for the first time since reporting pain in the flexor tendon Friday, and has been cleared to begin throwing again. But if he feels discomfort as he begins to throw again, Amaro said, "The next order of progression, I guess, would be to have a surgery."
Lee has tried to rehabilitate the injury twice already without surgery, and both times he has reported feeling discomfort.
So, "the probability that it will happen again is probably pretty high," Amaro said.
Lee pitched for the first time this spring last Thursday. The next morning, he told trainers that the discomfort near his elbow had returned and felt similar to last season, when the injury first occurred.
If he requires surgery, the normal recovery time is six to eight months, Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said Tuesday. That would effectively end the Phillies career of Lee, 36, who is in the final year of a five-year deal.