Things were going too well. That is, if "too well" actually means "a lack of apparent problems". But that's the 2015 Phillies. Where a lack of apparent problems is literally the best case scenario.
This is all to say that Cliff Lee is having elbow problems again. After making his spring training debut on Thursday, Lee apparently felt soreness in his left elbow. Elbow soreness (flexor pronator, to be exact) kept Lee sidelined for half of the 2014 season, so that's why you're experiencing some serious deja vu right now. Eschewing the typical treatment of laying hands while dancing and chanting, the Phillies did an ultrasound on his elbow. The results were similar to what they saw last season, so they went one step further and did an arthrogram MRI, which involves injecting contrast dye into Lee's elbow. There were some encouraging results.
More on Lee. Had MRI yesterday. Still flexor pronator. Not UCL, Amaro said. Will test it in few days. More coming at http://t.co/t6bgQQ5Vxb— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) March 8, 2015
Thankfully there's no structural damage, so in this case "encouraging" means "not an absolute catastrophe". As a precautionary measure, the Phillies have shut him down for a few days, mostly to wait until the dye from the MRI has made its way out of Lee's arm. He'll miss his start on Tuesday but will likely pick up his throwing program again soon. Also as a precautionary measure, the Phillies have sent the MRI results to Dr. James Andrews, the most feared name in all of pitching. They maintain it's just to get a second opinion, since Andrews examined Lee last year when this problem first surfaced.
This isn't tragic, season-ending news for Lee and the Phillies (we hope), but it's not great by any stretch of the imagination. Lee is looking to rebound after a disappointing, injury-shortened season, and the Phillies are looking to unload him to worthy suitor. A healthy Cliff Lee would be an asset for any team, something that Amaro was counting on as the season progressed. Lee's attractiveness as a trade candidate takes a major hit with this news. He's gotta show resilience and durability, not to mention a return to his strike-hurling form, before any team considers forking over money and players for him, and it's going to take awhile for Lee to get there.
Get better, Cliff Lee. The world needs you!