- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 11, 2007

From combined dispatches

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Cleveland Indians pitcher Cliff Lee will start the season on the disabled list because of an abdomen strain.

The left-hander, who went 14-11 with a 4.40 ERA last season and is 46-24 since 2004, felt the strain in his right abdomen during a throwing session early in spring training.

“The reality is I can’t pitch until mid-April,” Lee said after being scratched from a scheduled throwing session when he felt discomfort during training room exercises yesterday morning.

The Indians hope Lee, their No. 3 starter, at least will be able to resume throwing for the final two weeks of training camp.

“The symptoms persist,” trainer Lonnie Soloff said. “Cliff won’t throw for seven to 10 days. Then we’ll initiate a return-to-throw program. We’re approaching it as a four to six week rehab.”

This is the third straight year that a key member of the Indians’ starting rotation will be sidelined in April. No. 1 starter C.C. Sabathia was out for a month in both 2005 and 2006 with a strained muscle in his right side.

“It’s frustrating to watch everybody getting ready, and I’m left behind a little bit,” Lee said. “If this was late in the season, I’d probably try to keep pitching through it. There’s no sense in doing something that could make this worse and really miss a lot of time.”

Lee said he followed the same regimen this winter and was surprised to feel the strain in his second bullpen session early in camp.

Jackson says goodbye

The Los Angeles Dodgers released reserve infielder Damian Jackson.

Jackson signed as a free agent in December and was entering his 17th season in professional baseball — his 11th in the majors after spending time with eight teams.

“I no longer have anything to do with baseball,” an angry Jackson said before clearing out his locker, furiously shoving equipment and clothes into his duffel bag and knocking down two chairs on his way out.

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