8/18 Derrek Lee update
Derrek Lee may have changed his mind. Lee, who invoked his 10-and-5 rights and rejected a trade to the Angels in late July, was believed to be targeted by the Atlanta Braves, who are looking to upgrade their lineup.
The Braves were currently evaluating the first baseman’s health, sources told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Lee had an epidural injection in his lower back on Monday to ease discomfort from a bulging disk. He was expected to be ready to play Thursday. The Cubs, coincidentally, open a three-game series against the Braves on Friday.
Lee declined to comment on the rumored deal prior to Wednesday’s Cubs’ game against the Padres. He has homered in three straight games for the sixth time in his career, and the first time since June 18-20 last season. He’s hitting .251 overall and has not blamed the back problems on his numbers this year, saying it’s tough sometimes to bend over but it doesn’t affect his hitting.
Lee has a full no-trade clause as well as the 10-and-5 rights. It was unknown whether he has said he would accept a trade to the Braves. With Troy Glaus struggling at the plate and experiencing leg discomfort recently, the Braves have been looking for a veteran first baseman who can hit in the middle of their lineup. This is the final year of Lee’s contract and he is still owed a little more than $3 million for the remainder of this season. Prior to Wednesday’s game, Lou Piniella tried to downplay the rumors.
“There’s no reason to speculate,” Piniella said. “I wouldn’t put much credence in rumors until something happens.”
Hendry was not available for comment on Wednesday.
— Carrie Muskat