With pitchers and catchers opening camp in nine days, the Seattle Mariners revealed that newly acquired left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee underwent foot surgery last week.
However, general manager Jack Zduriencik said Monday he does not believe the operation will hamper Lee’s preparation for the 2010 season. The former Cy Young Award winner is expected to combine with Felix Hernandez to give the Mariners a potent one-two punch atop their rotation.
The procedure, performed Friday in Little Rock, Ark., by Dr. Bryan Burke, was to remove a floating spur in Lee’s left foot that recently broke loose.
The Mariners said in a release that the surgery will alleviate irritation and discomfort in the foot and surrounding tissues. He will not require a cast. In fact, Zduriencik said he talked to Lee on Monday, and all he had on the foot was an ace bandage.
“It was a surface type of injury, Zduriencik said. “He could have elected not to have surgery. The only thing that would have happened, if that was the case, he could have gone through a series of cortisone shots through the course of the year. But quite frankly, he should be ready to go in about three weeks. He said he feels good.”
For seven to 10 days, Lee will be able to bear weight on the left foot and continue his upper-body exercise program. He is expected to gradually return to all normal baseball activities over the next two to three weeks.
Why was surgery done now, so close to spring training? Zduriencik said Lee told him it was something that really hadn’t bothered him until last week.
“As minor as it was, it didn’t make any sense to have any semblance of it linger on,” Zduriencik said. “In the middle of the season, missing three weeks is a heck of a lot different than missing three weeks now.”
Lee and his Arkansas doctor consulted with Mariners team physician Edward Khalfayan before undergoing the operation.
“Cliff said he had a little irritation off and on, here and there, but the other day, it was feeling like it really bothered him,” Zduriencik said. “He doesn’t even know how it all ignited. We felt it was best to get it out of the way. It’s not anything that anyone is alarmed about.”
Lee, 31, was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies on Dec. 16 in a trade that sent minor-leaguers Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez to the Phillies.