Lee named Opening Day starter

Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee. (David Swanson/Staff Photographer)

Ryne Sandberg was nice enough to provide some news on a rainy day when the Phillies-Orioles game was canceled in Clearwater.

He named Cliff Lee his Opening Day starter on Monday.

"Easy call," Sandberg said. "Obvious reasons. An All-Star last year. The way he's pitched this spring. Easy call."

It's the first Opening Day assignment for Lee with the Philies and just the second of his career. Lee started on Opening Day for the Cleveland Indians in 2009.

The 35-year-old Lee went 14-8 with a 2.87 ERA in 31 starts in 2013. Lee led Major League Baseball in strikeout-to-walk rate (6.94) last season.

This spring, Lee has a 2.63 ERA in four starts. Lee has struck out 13 and walked two in 13 2/3 innings.

A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick will follow Lee in the rotation, Sandberg said. Cole Hamels, last season's Opening Day starter, could still join the rotation at some point in April but is more likely to return in May following his slow progress in the first half of spring training. 

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