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04/30/12 5:29 PM ET

Lee not quite ready to return on Friday

Left-hander eligible to come off DL, but Phillies being cautious

PHILADELPHIA -- Cliff Lee feels better, but he is not ready to pitch yet.

Lee is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique and is eligible to be activated Friday. But he will not be activated Friday. Lee still needs to throw two bullpen sessions before he is ready to start, and his first session has not been scheduled.

"It's better," Lee said. "It's slowly getting better."

The Phillies plan to be cautious with Lee. There is no sense in rushing him back, aggravating the injury and forcing him to miss more time. So if Lee is not back Friday, but he returns sometime next week, they will be happy with that.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.