SEATTLE — Cliff Lee's first spring training with the Seattle Mariners is off to a slow start already.
Lee is recovering from minor foot surgery and will be limited when pitchers and catchers report to Seattle's camp in Arizona this month.
"We decided Lee should have the surgery as soon as possible, rather than try to pitch with the discomfort during the year," general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a release Monday. "To get it out of the way and have it behind us is important."
Seattle's biggest acquisition during its splashy winter had surgery Friday in his native Arkansas to remove a bone spur that broke loose and was floating in his left foot.
Lee's foot is not in a cast, and he is continuing his upper-body exercise program. The Mariners said the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner will "gradually return to all normal baseball activities" over the next two to three weeks.
Zduriencik acquired Lee from Philadelphia in a complicated four-team deal that gave Seattle one of baseball's best pair of aces, along with 2009 AL Cy Young Award runner-up Felix Hernandez.
Lee went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA for the Phillies after he was acquired from Cleveland on July 29. He was even better in the playoffs, going 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts and earning both of Philadelphia's wins in the World Series against the Yankees.
The 31-year-old left-hander has one year and $9 million remaining on his contract.
Seattle's first workout for pitchers and catchers is Feb. 18 in Peoria, Ariz.
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