While there were regular updates over the nearly the past two weeks on the slew of relief pitchers attempting to work their way back from respective injury, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said multiple times he didn’t have any news on Zach Lee.
That changed Thursday as the club announced Lee has been cleared to begin a throwing program that he’ll complete at the Dodgers’ Spring Training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. on Friday. A return to game action may then follow within the next two to three weeks.
Lee last pitched May 29 with Triple-A Oklahoma City, though only threw 40 pitches over three scoreless innings. Given the timing, it led to immediate speculation the right-hander would be called up for the Dodgers’ June 2 doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
However, it was soon after revealed Lee was dealing with what was described as a minor injury. He was placed on the disabled list June 4 and sent to Los Angeles for a series of tests after suffering from what Mattingly described as a tingling feeling in his right hand.
The Dodgers have since diagnosed Lee with irritation in his right middle finger caused by poor circulation. He for now at least has bucked the trend of recent Dodger pitchers who required surgery after experiencing a similar feeling.
Josh Beckett and Chad Gaudin both underwent surgery in effort to treat tingling fingers on their respective throwing hands. It was the second time Beckett battled such symptoms, with the first coming in 2008 when he was still with the Boston Red Sox.
Beckett eventually had a rib removed in a July 2013 surgery to treat his Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which was caused by pressure being on his nerves. Meanwhile Gaudin underwent carpal tunnel release surgery in May and remains sidelined.
Lee, who was drafted 28th overall by the Dodgers in 2010, is a lifetime 37-38 with a 3.99 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and .264 batting average against in his career. He’s 5-3 with a 2.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 10 starts in 2015 after finishing 7-13 last season with a 5.38 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 28 games (27 starts).