Lee, Harang Issues Leave Rotation in Flux

cliff lee magic eight ballCole Hamels will pitch tomorrow against the Orioles at Bright House Field, which puts him on a five-day schedule to start Opening Day.

Hamels as the Opening Day starter is a no-brainer.

But what about the other spots? Some remain up in the air because of health issues. Cliff Lee is trying beat the odds and pitch with a torn common flexor tendon in his left elbow. He did not throw today, but at this point, even if he can pitch with an injured elbow, it is highly unlikely he could be ready by early April.

“He said his arm felt pretty good,” Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure said. “He just doesn’t want to push it. That’s what he told me.”

Aaron Harang has been scratched twice this month because of “lower back discomfort,” but is scheduled to throw a bullpen session tomorrow. If that goes well, McClure said Harang will pitch Thursday against the Yankees.

“He said he can catch up,” McClure said.

Chad Billingsley threw a successful bullpen session today. He is recovering from a pair of elbow surgeries. The Phillies said he could be ready to join the rotation before the end of April.

“Exceptional,” McClure said about Billingsley’s bullpen. “You would never know he was hurt. It’s quality stuff. It really is.”

McClure said after two or three more live batting practice sessions Billingsley could pitch in a game.

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