The Phillies' slow-moving rebuilding plan had a good day Thursday, as Cliff Lee made his first start since last July and looked like his old self doing it.
The veteran lefty needed just 16 pitches to make it through two quick innings with his velocity up around where it is supposed to be. And even though the Phils fell to the Astros 6-3, the first two innings are all that really mattered.
So how does this help the Phils' rebuild?
Not expected to contend in 2015, the better Lee pitches, the better crop of prospects they can get in exchange for him prior to the trade deadline this summer -- or possibly even sooner.
If Lee is Philly's second best trade chip, Cole Hamels is their best, and he'll make his debut this weekend and you can be sure the Red Sox front office, and Red Sox fans will pay just a little bit of attention. A few days ago it was reported that a Phillies scout was seen at Red Sox camp, assumably taking a look at Boston's crop of young prospects.
With Lee and Hamels each taking the hill once a week, the rumors will continue to swirl. All Phils fans can do is enjoy their aces while they're still wearing red and white pinstripes.
Want to catch some baseball on TV to warm up in this blizzard? Two of the three games this weekend will be on TCN and MLBNetwork.
Friday's game vs. the Yankees and Saturday's vs. the Blue Jays will each be televised, and start at 1:05 p.m. Probable pitchers have not yet been announced, though it is expected that Hamels will make his spring debut in the Yankees game at Bright House Field Friday.