After walking Chris Davis to open the second, Lee pitched out of harm's way by inducing Mitch Moreland to ground into a double play to second. Joaquin Arias followed with a hit to center and Taylor Teagarden forced him at second, ending the inning.In the third, Borbon and Esteban German opened with singles, putting runners on first and third. Again a double-play grounder, this one to third off the bat of David Murphy, got Lee out of any deep trouble, as the run scored. Vladimir Guerrero singled but was stranded on first when Davis popped to second. "I'm glad he's on our team," Seattle's second-year manager Don Wakamatsu said about having a premier pitcher like Lee heading up the staff. "It's nice to have a guy who understands how to pitch out of some jams, who's been to the World Series, who's won a Cy Young. We're hoping that what he does has an influence on some of our other guys." Now it's full speed ahead for Lee, who helped pitch Philadelphia into its second consecutive World Series last fall where the then-defending champions lost in six games to the Yankees. Lee was 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in his two World Series starts and was 4-0 for the Phillies in the postseason.
The Phils decided to part with Lee after acquiring 2003 American League Cy Young Award-winning right-hander Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays."It was a good situation there, a good team," Lee said about his three months in Philly. "I enjoyed every minute of being there, but I'm not there anymore." Lee, who logged a career-high 231 2/3 innings last season for the Indians and Phillies, threw 34 pitches in a simulated game last week and said afterward that his goal was to reach the 100-120-pitch level before his first start of the season. He'll jump to about 60 pitches his next time out. Lee's first regular-season start is expected to be on April 6 against the Athletics in Oakland. Although Wakamatsu has not named his Opening Day starter, the nod is expected to go to right-hander Felix Hernandez, who went 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA for the Mariners last season. By then, Lee wants to put any talk of his contract behind him until the offseason. There have been no talks with the Mariners so far, Lee said. "When the season starts I want to focus on pitching and not worry about the contract or answer questions about it," he added. "That's how I view it. Who knows what's going to happen?"
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.