3/10/2014 5:57 P.M. ET
Lee ready to step up for Phils with Hamels out
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee is the presumed Opening Day starter, although the Phillies have made no announcement.
He allowed three hits, two runs, one walk and struck out five in 3 2/3 innings on Monday in an 8-1 loss to the Braves at Bright House Field. Braves right fielder Jason Heyward hit Lee's second pitch of the game for a home run out to right field.
Lee should be ready to go once the season starts. The Phillies will be leaning heavily on Lee, A.J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez until Cole Hamels rejoins the rotation following a left shoulder issue.
That might not happen until May.
"Obviously, any time without him is not good," Lee said of Hamels. "He's one of the best pitchers in the game. We'd like to have him back as quickly as possible. But at the same time, there's nothing we can do about that. That's up to him to focus on his routine and rehab and do the things he has to do to get back. While he's doing that, we got to take care of business. Hopefully he gets back sooner than later."
Hamels scheduled for 'pen session this week
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday at Bright House Field, his first in 11 days. Hamels opened camp last month behind schedule after feeling discomfort in his left shoulder in November. He had been progressing nicely until he said his arm never bounced back following a March 1 bullpen session. He has not thrown off a mound since.
Hamels will open the season on the disabled list. It seems unlikely he will pitch in April, although the Phillies and Hamels have offered no timetable for his return.
"I wouldn't say it's painful," Hamels said last week. "I think ultimately when people think about the shoulder and not being able to throw a baseball, they think injuries, tears, the pain indication. It's not that. It's really tired, and it was kind of more difficult to go through the throwing motion, let alone try to throw something very competitive."
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Hamels "doesn't have any structural damage."
Sandberg not concerned about Phillies' offense
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies scored just one run Monday at Bright House Field, which is becoming a common occurrence this spring.
They have been held to one or no runs in five of their 13 Grapefruit League games and have been held to three or fewer runs nine times.
The Phillies entered the afternoon with a .595 OPS, which was the worst mark in baseball. The Tigers (.652) and Red Sox (.659) entered Monday just ahead of them in that category. Boston and Detroit finished first and second in baseball in OPS last season.
But the Phillies finished 24th in OPS last season, so they don't have the recent track record of the Red Sox and Tigers to rely upon.
Still, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg is not worried.
"It's March 10," he said. "It's also a Spring Training atmosphere. Some guys are two at-bats, three at-bats and out. Sprinkled with days off in there, kind of a choppy schedule for guys. We're still seeing everybody, giving everybody ample at-bats. Maybe it's hard for guys to get into a groove and get into a rhythm. Guys are seeing the ball, getting their eyes adjusted. That could come into play. But when I look at the potential of the lineup and the potential bats we have together, I see an offense that has potential of doing some things. I put a lot on it being March 10."
Howard bats fifth, Byrd fourth vs. right-hander
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg is using Spring Training to take a look at different lineups.
He had an interesting one Monday in an 8-1 loss to the Braves at Bright House Field. He had Ryan Howard hit fifth against Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy. Marlon Byrd hit fourth.
Howard hitting fifth is noteworthy because Howard has hit fourth the overwhelming majority of his career, starting 955 games in the cleanup spot compared to 83 games in the No. 6 spot (zero times since 2006) and 68 games in the No. 5 spot (four times since 2006 and zero times since '08).
"Just to split up the left-handed bats and give another look," Sandberg said.
But would he try this during the regular season?
"That's yet to be seen," he said. "It was just something to try today in Spring Training, separate the left-handed bats, see what that looks like."
• Right-hander Mike Adams is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday. He is recovering from right shoulder surgery in July.
• Right-hander Jonathan Pettibone is scheduled to throw live batting practice or appear in a Minor League game Wednesday. He is recovering from a shoulder issue which has bothered him since last season. He said his most recent bullpen session went well, and he has not been bothered by the shoulder.
• Greg Luzinski has joined camp as a guest instructor. He worked on Monday with Howard.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.