Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg annouced Monday something we all knew already: Cliff Lee will get the ball on opening day.
It'll be just the second opening day start of Lee's career — his last came in 2009 with the Indians, following his Cy Young season, also at the Rangers. The Phillies open the season in Texas on March 31 at 2:05 p.m.
Even if Cole Hamels, last year's opening day starter, weren't injured, the nod probably should have gone to Lee anyway considering his tremendous 2013 campaign.
Easily the best on the Phils' staff, Lee went 14-8 with a 2.87 ERA, 222 strikeouts and just 32 walks in 222.2 innings (31 starts). His 6.94 strikeout-to-walk ratio led the majors. Plus, the 35-year-old is having a great spring with four runs, 11 hits, 13 strikeouts and two walks in 13.2 innings.
Opening day will be Lee's first return to Arlington since helping lead the Rangers to the World Series in 2010. Most recently, he tossed eight shutout innings against Texas in a 2-0 Phillies win on May 21, 2011.
Monday's scheduled game against the Orioles in Clearwater was rained out.
Pitchers Kyle Kendrick, A.J. Burnett, Jake Diekman and Jonathan Pettibone all got work off the mound in indoor facilities.
The Phillies are off Tuesday and play the Blue Jays on Wednesday in Dunedin.