Lee insists trade talk not a distraction

Lee insists trade talk not a distraction

Lee insists trade talk not a distraction
PHILADELPHIA -- Cliff Lee insisted he wasn't perturbed. Not by the trade and waiver speculation that swirled around him for the last few weeks. Not by giving up three home runs against the Diamondbacks on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

Especially not by the speculation.

"I just don't worry about it, really," the veteran left-hander said after the Phillies 5-4, come-from-behind win. "It's all rumors until [general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.] tells me I'm moved or something. So I don't really worry too much about it, to be honest with you."

Lee made it clear that he wanted to come back to Philadelphia when he became a free agent after the 2010 season, and he accomplished that by signing a five-year, $120 million contract. He's been inconsistent at times and the Phillies haven't lived up to expectations, which helps explain the trade talk. The breathless reports that he'd been placed on waivers and, later, that he's been claimed by the Dodgers are another issue.

Lee feels secure.

"I mean, you never know what's going to happen, but I signed here to play here," Lee said. "They signed me here to play here. So as far as I know they want me to pitch here. I think it was way overblown. They put a lot of players on waivers throughout the year.

"It's just a standard deal. I don't know why it became a story. Players being claimed happens all the time. I don't know why that's a story. There are probably a lot of guys on this team who were put on waivers and claimed, too, and nothing ever came of it. So I don't know why it's a big deal because it was me. But, whatever."

Amaro's response earlier in the weekend: "He's not going anywhere."

Lee pitched well in stretches on Sunday, retiring the D-backs in order five separate innings. But he's also given up seven home runs in his last three starts, covering 22 innings. Last year he allowed just 18 all season in 232 2/3 innings.

"The home runs, I've got to do a better job of keeping the ball down, keeping it in the ballpark," said Lee, who is winless in his eight starts at Citizens Bank Park this year. "When it's hot here the ball really travels and that's when I've got to be more conscious of keeping the ball down, induce more ground balls.

"They hit three homers. But fortunately we answered back and tied it in the eighth and won it in the ninth. So that was big for our offense there."