Lee throws 'pen session, eyes return next week

Lee throws 'pen session, eyes return next week

ATLANTA -- Cliff Lee could be back in the Phillies' rotation early next week.

On Wednesday, Lee threw his first bullpen session since straining his left oblique April 18 in San Francisco. The lefty reported no pain and said if he feels fine Thursday, he is scheduled to throw a second bullpen session Saturday.

Assuming that goes well, he could pitch for the Phillies a few days later at Citizens Bank Park.

"I feel good about it," Lee said. "If things go well, it's one more bullpen and then the game. That's the plan for now, but that's all flexible."

Lee said he has been pain-free recently.

"It did linger a little bit," he said. "But it's slowly gotten better. But the last two days have been drastically better than the four or five days before that. It just kind of plateaued and stayed the same. But the last two have been good."

Asked if it is safe to say the problem is gone, Lee said, "Every throw, I didn't feel anything. There are a couple exercises I do where I can barely feel it, but compared to how it was before, it's pretty safe to say it's on its way to being gone."