PEORIA, Ariz.—Today was an important one for the most popular ex-Phillie of the moment, Cliff Lee. He threw his first bullpen session for the Seattle Mariners this morning, after undergoing minor foot surgery this winter. He threw about 45 pitches, and said his foot felt fine.
Of greater potential interest to Phillies Zone readers, Lee reflected beforehand on his time in Philly, and the December trade. Before sitting down and writing the story, I thought I’d pass along some of what he said.
Was he aware how strong of reaction the trade caused in Philadelphia, and how much fans seem to miss him?
“I think that the fans and Philly wanted me and Halladay there, but it’s out of my control, out of my hands. I’m here now, so…Yeah, I guess in a way that makes you feel good that the fans wanted you here.”
How long did it take him to get over the shock?
“A couple days, whatever. It’s not like I was that out of whack about it. It just caught me off guard, really..It just goes to show that you never know what’s going to happen in this game, and that’s part of it. You’re at the mercy of the team. That’s the nature of the game; there’s no way around it. So you’ve got to try to stay positive no matter where you’re at, and try to help the team that you’re on win. That’s it. There’s really nothing you can do.
What did he remember most about being a Phillie?
“Probably just enjoying my time with teammates, the staff there. I enjoyed it. It was a good group of guys. It was a lot of fun, it was something I’ll remember forever.”
Looking back, what did he remember about that transcendant World Series game 1 performance at Yankee Stadium?
“I don’t know. It was just one of those games where it seemed like everything went my way. Everything that could have happened positive did. The behind-the-back play was just a reaction-type deal. I don’t know, it just seemed like the stars where aligned or something. I don’t’ know what was going on there, but it seems like everything that could gone good did.
“It was just something that happened. I was confident and calm, and I felt like I put the work in to get ready, so I just went out there and let it all hang out, and that’s what happened. It was just one of those days when I was able to throw pitches that I wanted to throw in the spots that I wanted to throw them. Everything was just kind of clicking that day, I don’t know."
So it’s kind of hard to explain?
“Yeah, it really is. I really don’t know how to explain it except that everything was working.”
Would he leave open the possibility of returning to the Phils as a free agent after this season?
“That’s a long way from now. Right now I’m a Mariner and it’s hard to sit here and talk about another organization or whatever. For right now, I’m a Mariner and I’m going to make the best of the situation. I’m excited about the guys we’ve got in this clubhouse, and it looks like we’re going to be a pretty good team.
Who has he kept in touch with since the trade?
“I talked to Werth several times throughout the offseason. Victorino a little bit. That’s really it. I didn’t have a whole lot of the guys’ numbers. I wasn’t expecting the last time I saw everybody to be the last time I’d see them in a while. If I would have known it was going to happen this way, I probably would have gotten a few more phone numbers.