Ace starter Cliff Lee, who is recovering from a strained oblique that has kept him out for the entire month, threw a solid game in AAA Tacoma on Sunday, his first and only minor league rehab appearance as he prepares to take the hill for Seattle this Friday against Texas.
Lee, pitching in a rehab start for the Tacoma Rainiers, pitched six scoreless innings allowing - just three hits - while striking out four and walking none. Of the three hits - one was a bunt single by ultra speedy lead-off hitter Peter Bourgos in the fourth inning, the other could have easily been called an error when Rainiers centerfielder lost a simple pop fly in the sun and the third was ground ball to third that Jack Hannahan made a diving stop on but couldn't make a throw on.
Lee's command in Tacoma was good, and while he didn't have a very good feel for his curve, his velocity was normal and he flashed a terrific change. More importantly, Lee referred to his injury as a "non-issue" after working six innings. He seems to have made a full recovery, meaning all systems are go as he looks to join up with Felix Hernandez at the front of the Mariner rotation.
To make room for Lee, Ian Snell is the likely candidate to head to the bullpen. Jason Vargas and Doug Fister have pitched too well to get demoted.