It appears as though the rumors of Cliff Lee's imminent death have been greatly exaggerated.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports the Phils' ace left-hander has been cleared to begin a rehab assignment this weekend.
Cliff Lee will begin a rehab assignment Sunday with Class A Clearwater.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) July 2, 2014
Lee threw 60 pitches in a simulated game today with the team in Miami, and felt no ill effects afterward. That means he's on target to pitch in real baseball action for the Clearwater Threshers on Sunday. If all goes well, Lee should be able to return to the Phillies after a few rehab starts and possibly make three or four starts for the Phils before the end of the month.
Of course, having Lee back gives the Phils a better chance to win more baseball games. But with the team now seemingly resigned to selling, it's likely the team is more interested in seeing Lee pitch well and re-establish some of the trade value he had before he hurt the flexor tendon in his pitching elbow.
Lee had a 3.18 ERA and 61/9 K/BB ratio in 68 innings before hitting the disabled list back in May.