Cliff Lee named Phillies' opening day starter

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
March 17, 2014, 4:30 P.M.
@Philabaseball
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg announced Monday that Cliff Lee would be the club's opening day starter when the regular season opens in two weeks in Texas against the Rangers.

"It’s definitely an honor," Lee said. "I look forward to it. It’s coming on us pretty quick. It’s two weeks away so I’m ready to go."

Lee leads the club in innings pitched this spring with 13 2/3. Opponents are hitting just .216 off him and he's sporting a 2.63 ERA to go along with a solid 0.95 WHIP. 

Cliff Lee named Phillies opening day starter."The decision was easy," Sandberg said. “Obvious reasons. He was an all-star last year. The way he’s pitched this spring. Easy call."

Lee's only previous opening day start came in 2009 while with the Indians.

"He's earned this opportunity, no doubt." Sandberg said.

In addition to naming Lee the opening day starter, Sandberg said A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick would round out the other two games of the season opening series in Arlington.

The Phillies have an off day following the series against the Rangers before heading to Chicago for a three game series with the Cubs. Sandberg stopped short on Monday of naming Roberto Hernandez the club's fourth starter, but he's the likely choice to pitch in the series opener in Chicago.

To this point, the final spot in the starting rotation is still in question with Jeff Manship, Jeff Buchanan, Mario Hollands and Sean O'Sullivan all competing for the spot.

With two off days built into the schedule over the first two weeks the Phillies will not need a fifth starter until April 14 against Atlanta.

"We still have some time to see how everything shakes out," Sandberg said. "No need to look that far down the pike just yet."

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