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Lee’s return small dose of good news for injured Phils

Lefty to make first start since April 18.

The Phillies haven't received too many doses of good news this season.

Eight players are on the disabled list, including Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Manager Charlie Manuel has trotted out 26 different lineups in 31 games. They have lost six games this season when tied or leading entering the eighth inning. They're 0-4 in extra-inning games.

Heading into last night's game against the Mets, the Phillies were 14-16 overall and 3-4 in May. The Phillies haven't had a sub .500 record in May since 2002.

It's a marathon 162-game season and momentum can be altered quickly. How quickly? Try today.

That's when left-hander Cliff Lee is scheduled to return from a strained oblique muscle. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said that Lee will throw in the range of 75-80 pitches.

Lee is 0-1 with a 1.96 ERA in his previous three starts. Kyle Kendrick is 0-2 with a 5.30 ERA in three starts in place of Lee. So do the math. The Phillies are 0-6 in those six games. Have the Phillies missed Lee?

"We haven't won any of his starts, have we?," Manuel said. "That doesn't mean Kendrick pitched bad, but we haven't won any of his starts."

Just having Lee back in the rotation has to be a boost.

"Anytime Cliff starts, it's a great thing," said second baseman Pete Orr. "Doc [Roy Halladay], Cliff, Cole [Hamels], these guys have been here and done it so often. I think we're all excited to see Cliff come back. Hopefully, we'll be able to score a bunch of runs for him."

 
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