Cliff Lee has looked like himself during spring training, and expects to be on the mound when the Phillies open their season against the Rangers on March 31. Credit: Getty Images
It really was a no-brainer, but Ryne Sandberg made it official Monday, Cliff Lee will pitch the Phillies' season opener against his former team, the Rangers.
Lee has dazzled during spring training (2.63 ERA), and with Cole Hamels out of commission until at least late April, the Phillies really had nowhere to go but to the 35-year-old left-hander.
"Easy call," Sandberg told reporters. "Obvious reasons. An All-Star last year. The way he's pitched this spring. Easy call."
Lee was 14-8 last season with a 2.87 ERA last season. This will be his second career opening day start, the other coming in 2009 with the Indians.
A.J. Burnett will follow Lee and then Kendrick. The other two starters are to be determined, as is Hamels' return date.