Mariners’ Lee makes 2-hour-plus appeal of penalty

Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee got his say Wednesday about the

five-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball during

spring training – and quite a long say at that.

Lee had a teleconference with baseball disciplinary officials

regarding his penalty for throwing over the head of Arizona’s Chris

Snyder in an exhibition game. The new Seattle pitcher and former AL

Cy Young Award winner said the hearing lasted more than two hours

and included an arbitrator who is expected to make a decision in

the next few days.

“It’s first time I’ve ever done it,” Lee said of the hearing.

“It was a lot of the same stuff over and over.”

Lee was suspended and fined for his pitch on March 15. He had

collided with Snyder earlier in the game while backing up home

plate. The collision resulted in a strained abdomen that put Lee on

the disabled list.

During the teleconference, Lee made note of the injury and that

it was still early in spring training – the second of his two

starts all spring – when the incident happened.

“They went over a bunch of stuff, other cases and how they

went, and there was a lot of stuff,” Lee said. “They showed the

tape and basically discussed it. It took a while.”

Lee was joined in the teleconference by Mariners general manager

Jack Zduriencik, manager Don Wakamatsu and trainer Rick

Griffin.

“It was pretty interesting … lot of words,” Wakamatsu said.

“I thought it went well but it’s not my decision. It was a pretty

interesting process. I said my two cents and that was it.”

Lee was Seattle’s big offseason acquisition, brought over from

Philadelphia as part of a three-team deal that was expected to give

Seattle arguably the most formidable Nos. 1 and 2 starters in the

American League with righty Felix Hernandez.

While getting his suspension settled will be comforting, the

bigger event for Lee could be Friday when he’s expected to throw a

simulated game. That is the next step in his recovery that will

include a minor-league rehab outing.

Wakamatsu said on Tuesday that Lee could be back the first week

of May.

Seattle also announced that starters Ian Snell and Ryan

Rowland-Smith will switch places in the rotation for this weekend

against Detroit. Snell has been away from the team dealing with a

death in the family and is expected back in Seattle on Thursday.

Rowland-Smith will now start Saturday and Snell on Sunday.