DUNEDIN, Fla. -- It's said often at this time of year that Spring Training results should be taken with a grain of salt, perhaps less than that, but it's especially true on a chilly Florida day when the wind is blowing straight out.
But those were the conditions in which Cliff Lee made his second Grapefruit League start Saturday, and his final line reflected the hitter-friendly environment more so than it did his pitching: three runs on five hits, including two doubles and a homer, with three strikeouts in three innings.
"I feel good. I feel like I'm locating very well," Lee said. "I just missed up a little bit. It's just a matter of getting repetitions and getting comfortable with your delivery and repeating. ... I feel good. I feel like I'm right where I need to be. Physically, I feel great."
Lee threw every pitch in his arsenal in the Phillies' 11-6 loss to the Blue Jays and was pleased with how he's progressing this spring. He admittedly left a few too many pitches up in the strike zone, and the Blue Jays sent them into the wind for extra-base hits. But the lefty also effectively pounded the strike zone, tossing 32 of his 43 pitches for strikes.
You could tell it would be an unusual day for Lee right away. Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera each laced a double in the first inning, and Edwin Encarnacion added an RBI single later on. With two outs in the second, light-hitting second baseman Emilio Bonifacio crushed a home run to left field that likely would've been a routine fly ball out had the wind not been pushing it out.
"Still hit it. Still a homer," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's baseball. You've gotta hit it."
Lee bounced back with a perfect third inning and got J.P. Arencibia, the last batter he faced, to stare at a called third strike. While the results may not have meant much, Lee was mostly happy that all he has left to do is refine his pitches and continue to build up strength.
"It's just more about getting your reps in and getting your body ready to throw more pitches and more innings and preparing for the 162-game regular season, plus hopefully another month there at the end. That's where the focus is," Lee said. "You want to have success every time you take the mound, but at this point in spring, it's more about just making sure you feel right and building up your pitch count."