Cliff Lee rehab ahead of schedule, Ryan Howard fighting for job

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The loss of Cliff Lee was one of many things that went wrong for the Phillies in 2014.

Lee’s recovery from a flexor pronator strain is ahead of schedule with the left hander said to be ready to throw off the mound in two weeks.

Last year Lee posted a 3.65 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 72/12 K/BB ratio over 81 1/3 innings.

The belief is that Lee will be ready for Opening Day. With the Phillies choosing to overhaul their roster there is a good chance he gets traded before the deadline if he stays healthy and proves to be effective.

Ryan Howard fighting for playing time

If Ryan Howard is to be the Phillies starting first baseman this season he will have to earn the job in Spring Training.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro has made it no secret that he would prefer to trade Howard and his hefty contract. The problem has been that his production has been down.

Ideally either Darin Ruf or Maikel Franco would start for the Phillies at first base.

Howard hit just .223/.310/.380 with 23 home runs in 153 games last season. The only statistical category he has kept pace with is strikeouts as he whiffed 190 times.

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