The Five Reasons Cliff Lee Shifts the Balance of Power in the AL West

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The Five Reasons Cliff Lee Shifts the Balance of Power in the AL West

Finally. Or maybe that should read, "Final-Lee?"

The Seattle Mariners made a huge trade in the offseason to acquire the services of former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, and tonight, a month into the season, he will make his first appearance on the mound.

Lee got off on the wrong foot this year. Literally. Literal-Lee. A couple of weeks prior to spring training, he needed a minor surgery on his foot and would miss the start of the exhibition season.

Spring training was no kinder to Lee, as he took the brunt of a collision with Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder, and strained his abdomen. He continued to pitch in the game, only to get into more trouble.

Lee's foot and midsection injuries forced a pitch to sail over the head of Snyder in his next at-bat. The wild throw was later ruled to be intentional, resulting in a five-game suspension to start the season.

However, the injury was more of an issue than the impending suspension, and would land him on the disabled list to start the season. During the rehab process, which included an experimental, platelet-rich injection to the abdomen area, Lee's appeal of his suspension was found to be legitimate, and MLB dropped the suspension.

His foot also seemed to heal completely. "Complete-Lee" appears to be a great descriptive for his current condition.

Lee described his injury as a "non-issue," saying, "It has been more than a month since he felt discomfort."

The Mariners were very cautious because this is the third time he has been sidelined with the same type of injury. The first two times, he missed significant playing time, and was not very productive immediately following the healing process.

The M’s know they most likely ("like-Lee") have his services for just this season, so they wanted him at a hundred percent so he could contribute at his normal, stellar capacity.

Lee is healthy now. Lee is motivated. Lee is focused.

In his Triple-A start last Sunday, he allowed just three hits (including one on a bunt and one where a fly ball was lost in the sun), while striking out four and walking none.

Lee said he is anxious to "get back and help the team up in Seattle and try to have fun and let it all hang out."

The rest of the AL West Division may be a little bit worried at this point. Seattle is just a half-game back in the standings, and they just got a whole lot better with one of their two Aces ready to take aim at division rival Texas tonight.

The balance of power in the division has shifted toward the Mariners, simply because they can now start relying on both of their Aces to carry them the rest of the year. The pennant is there for the taking, and there are five reasons Cliff Lee will be leading ("Lee”-ding") the way.

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