Cliff Lee: “I’ve Had Ab Strains, But Nothing Like This”
Which, yeah, is something of a problem.
Not only because of Lee’s obvious relative importance to the club — he’s rocking a 1.96 ERA and 0.70 WHIP, on a the 29th scoring offense (43 runs), with the 22nd batting average (.239), 28th on-base percentage (.283) and 29th slugging percentage (.317) — but because of all people, Lee should have a pretty extensive frame of reference. He’s been on the DL three times in the last six seasons — missing more than half a calendar year (213 days) and 60 percent of an MLB season (98 games), according to his injury history on Baseball Prospectus — with oblique strains like the one he has now.
Granted, “different” can always mean a tepid “different,” a not-so-bad “different,” a “different” that shouldn’t conjure considerations about whether this genuinely has the potential to torpedo the Phils 2012 run (walk? they are 7-9, after all, after splitting a road series with San Deigo — SAN DIEGO!!!).
But context clues tell you that’s not where he was going with that.
Said Lee (per Ryan Lawrence of the Delco Times): “I’ve had ab strains, but nothing like this. It’s on my left side.”
Which, again, it’s worth noting, has never been the case. Every documented injury instance — Feb. to May of 2003, Mar. to May 2007, Mar. to May 2010, Feb. to Mar. 2012 — has befallen his right side. This time around, Lee was placed on the DL retroactive to Apr. 19 (when he tossed 10 scoreless and was done dirty by Ty Wigginton’s bumbling glove hand and the the lineup’s incompetence), making him eligible to return May 4, for the team’s home series with the Nationals. (Who, for record, are an NL East-best 12-and-freaking-4. Crazy.)
And, it’s worth noting, if you haven’t already caught on, Lee’s specific injury record provides something of context. All at once that (1) the “six” times is something of an overstatement, given that all but once Lee’s DL stint was a roll-over from spring training, which, if you’re really counting, would better be coupled together and (2) that given the same statement, when he tweaks an abdominal, it’s really bad and shelves him for a while. Yeah. No bueno.
Said Lee: “I feel like it should go away. But I’ve never dealt with anything like this before. It’s something different. Hope we’ll miss a couple starts and it’s back to normal.”
As does the rest of the rest of Philadelphia.
(This article was written by Matt Hammond, you can reach Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org)