PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) - Kevin Slowey made the long walk from the Philadelphia dugout to the visiting clubhouse in the right field corner of Charlotte Sports Park, feeling pretty good about his performance against Tampa Bay.
The 30-year-old right-hander’s excitement waned when he learned Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee has experienced some discomfort in his pitching elbow again.
“Hopefully, he’ll be OK. He’s a good man, first and foremost. … I hope he’ll find out it’s nothing major,” Slowey said after following a solid spring debut with three hitless innings Sunday in a 5-4 victory over the Rays.
Freddy Galvis, Ben Revere, Odubel Herrera and Brian Bogusevic drove in runs for the Phillies, who held the Rays scoreless until the eighth inning.
Slowey pitched two scoreless innings in his first spring start against the New York Yankees. He struck out two and retired all nine batters he faced against Tampa Bay.
That’s encouraging news for the Phillies, who are hoping they’ll get favorable updates on Lee when he attempts to continue his throwing program this week.
The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner had an MRI on Friday, a day after making his first spring training start against Houston. The Phillies said the 36-year-old did not feel discomfort during the two-inning stint against the Astros, but did Friday while going through his normal routine.
The club plans to get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, who will read the MRI, this week.
The Phillies are concerned, but also hopeful the problem is not serious.
“First of all, there was sides of it that I think are still positive,” manager Ryne Sandberg said in response to a question about his initial reaction to the development.
“Just hearing that when he does warm up, he feels fine,” Sandberg added. “I’m just anxious to watch him play catch and see how he progresses the next couple of days to see if he can actually make a start, and then go from there.”
Lee will not make his scheduled start on Tuesday against Detroit. He went 4-5 with a 3.65 ERA while making just 13 starts last year, when injuries forced him to the disabled list on two different occasions.
Phillies: Slowey doesn’t want to entertain the thought that Lee’s situation could create an opportunity to earn a job in the rotation, stressing that he’s hoping the four-time All-Star is going to be fine. ” He’s looked real good. He’s been aggressive. Today, for three innings, he threw all fast balls. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before,” Sandberg said.
Rays: Right-hander Chris Archer made his first start for Tampa Bay, allowing one run and three hits in two innings.
Archer was 10-9 with a 3.33 ERA in a team-leading 32 starts last season. He felt good about his performance Sunday. “I’m not going to beat myself up over a couple of singles and a double that were ground balls,” Archer said.
There’s a chance Tampa Bay’s No. 3 starter, Drew Smyly, won’t be ready to begin the season in the rotation because tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. The left-hander hurt the middle finger on his throwing hand in December, however manager Kevin Cash said that injury was not related to the shoulder problem that’s slowing the pitcher’s preparation for the season.
“The finger issue took place probably just before Christmas. We’ve kind of been ahead of that for quite some time. He came into camp, everything was good, and he’s basically going through a little shoulder tendinitis right now,” Cash said. “Everything we’re doing is precautionary. … He’s a big part of what we’re doing, so we want to make sure he’s good to go before he ramps it up.”
Phillies: Right-hander Aaron Harang gets the start on the road against Baltimore in Sarasota. Right-hander Chris Tillman starts for the Orioles.
Rays: Right-hander Nathan Karns, who competing for the open No. 5 spot in the rotation, makes his second spring start in the first of two trips the Rays will make to Tampa to face the Yankees. New York will send right-hander Michael Pineda to the mound.
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