BRADENTON, Fla -- Cliff Lee sounded Friday like a pitcher who is ready for the regular season to begin.
Asked how many more spring starts he will make before Opening Day, the left-hander nonchalantly shrugged.
The correct answer is probably three, not that Lee is counting.
Asked if hopes to have a 100-pitch outing before the Phillies break camp, Lee said, "I could have went 100 today."
Lee pitched the first 4 2/3 innings of the Phillies' 3-2 loss to the Pirates, yielding five hits, including two homers.
"I felt fine, I felt strong the whole time," said Lee. "I located my pitches better than I have in my previous outings."
Lee is now 1-1 after three starts. "I made a couple of mistakes, obviously, on the home runs, but overall I was locating good," he said.
Lee went 17-8 for the Phillies last year.
Phillies' Brown scratched after setback
BRADENTON, Fla -- Domonic Brown, who missed Thursday's game because of a stiff neck, was scratched again on Friday and replaced in left field by Luis Montanez. It is Brown's second setback because of injury this spring.
"I think he's going to be fine," said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. "I'm sure it's frustrating for him, but I don't think it's any big deal."
Brown has struggled since moving from right field to left last year.
"It's pretty obvious he needs more time in left field," Amaro said.
Howard has one week left of wearing boot
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Friday he expects Ryan Howard to continue to wear a protective walking boot on his left leg "for another week."
"When the wound gets healed over enough for him to take the boot off, that's what we'll do," Amaro said.
Meanwhile, John Mayberry Jr. got another start at first base Friday, batting cleanup. He could see considerable playing time there early in the season before he returns to the outfield when Howard recovers from his ankle injury and infection.
Jim Thome will start at first base in a Minor League game in Clearwater, Fla., on Saturday. It will mark the second time he has played that position this spring.
Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.