PHILADELPHIA -- Cliff Lee is getting closer to pitching in games, but the Phillies' ace still has a few more tests to pass in his recovery from a strained left elbow. Lee is expected to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park, with a simulated game tentatively scheduled for Saturday.
Lee's bullpen session on Tuesday will feature a heavier workload than his previous two. The left-hander will make between 20-25 pitches, take a break, then pitch again to simulate the up and down of a start.
"If everything goes well tomorrow, [there's a] possibility of a simulated game scenario here and that would be on Saturday," manager Ryne Sandberg said before Monday's series opener against the Marlins.
Sandberg hinted that Lee would also likely need one or two Minor League rehab starts before he's ready to return to the Phillies' rotation. Lee has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 19 and is still building arm strength, which would make it difficult to return before the All-Star break (July 14-17). However, Lee has not ruled that out.
"That will be talked about, but I would imagine that would be recommended," Sandberg said when asked if Lee would go on a rehab assignment. "I don't know if it's one or two. I think it would be something more than just a simulated game."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.