Lee starts throwing program, should be ready for spring

Lee starts throwing program, should be ready for spring

SAN DIEGO -- The Phillies would have two aces to trade this offseason if Cliff Lee had a healthy left elbow.

But after finishing the season on the disabled list with a strained left flexor pronator, there is no chance Lee is traded until July.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday that Lee has begun his throwing program and it is going well, which would be good news. The Phillies would like to trade Lee at some point, but it will be difficult. The lefty is owed a guaranteed $37.5 million, which includes a $25 million salary in 2015, plus a $12.5 million buyout on a $27.5 million club option for '16. The option automatically vests if Lee pitches 200 innings in 2015 and does not finish the season on the DL with a left elbow or shoulder injury.

"He's got no issues," Amaro said. "He's in his normal program now. I think he probably won't get on the mound until January."

Amaro said Lee will be ready to go come Spring Training in February.

"That's what we think," he said. "Talked to [head athletic trainer] Scott Sheridan this morning about it and he's on a normal schedule now -- of course unless he has some sort of setback."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.