Left-hander Cliff Lee flew home to Seattle for treatment of a strained abdominal muscle today.
"Cliff first felt it in Tucson in that collsion (behind the plate), but he continued to pitch," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "How far behind does this put him? We'll see how he feels in a week."
Treated by team physician Ed Khalifan, Lee will be re-evaluated in seven days.
"We are hoping for a speedy recovery and look forward to his returning," GM Jack Zduriencik said in a released statement.
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Lee has pitched 5 2/3 innings in the Cactus League, and though he'd thrown a bullpen as late as yesterday, the injury is going to set him back substantially.
That, plus the five-day suspension slapped on Lee after Monday's game in Tucson, leaves the veteran's status for the first weeks of the season in limbo.
"This isn't what we planned for," Wakamatsu said. "We'll deal with it."
A rotation the Mariners envisioned having Felix Hernandez, Lee and Erik Bedard in it perhaps as early as mid-May could now open the season with only Hernandez healthy.