Sports News

All-Star pitcher Lee settling in after whirlwind week

ANAHEIM (Reuters) - It all happened so quickly.

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee pitches against the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth inning of their American League baseball game in Arlington, Texas July 10, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone

First Cliff Lee was a Mariner. One morning last week he woke up and thought he might be a Yankee. Then he found out he was a Ranger.

Now, the day before Tuesday’s game, he is an All Star for the second time. Who could blame him for this momentary confusion?

Lee, the 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner with Cleveland, was asked about the possibility of returning to Philadelphia, the team he won two games for in the 2009 World Series against the New York Yankees before being traded to the Seattle Mariners during the off-season.

His answer was politic, but a few days out of date.

“That’s down the road,” Lee said of rejoining the Phillies. “Right now I’m a Mariner.”

There was a burst of laughter and Lee flinched. “A Ranger,” he said, correcting himself. “I was so used to saying that.”

The American League West division-leading Rangers will be the left-handed Lee’s fourth team in just over 12 months. He was traded by Cleveland to the Phillies before last year’s All Star break, and then sent to Seattle in December 2009.

As a study in perpetual motion, Lee has become accustomed to frequent changes of address and clubhouse.

“It doesn’t take long,” he said. “The hard part is figuring out everyone’s names. I’m really good with faces, not that good with names. That’s the challenging part for me.”

Editing by Frank Pingue