SEATTLE — Major League Baseball has dropped its five-game suspension of Seattle Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee.
The Mariners said Tuesday that MLB vice president of administration John McHale made the decision after Lee's appeal hearing last week. Lee and the Mariners' head trainer said during the appeal made via conference call that difficulties in recovering from offseason foot surgery and a serious abdominal strain were sufficient evidence to rescind the suspension and fine.
The league disciplined the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner after he was ejected from a spring training game on March 15 against Arizona for throwing over the head of batter Chris Snyder.
Lee had strained his abdomen earlier in the game while colliding with Snyder, as the pitcher was backing up the plate on a scoring play.
Seattle placed its prized winter acquisition from Philadelphia on the 15-day disabled list April 4, retroactive to March 26. Lee is set to make a minor league rehabilitation start on Sunday, and the Mariners had planned for him to make his Seattle debut on May 2 against Texas.
But that was before Tuesday's ruling.
"We are pleased that Major League Baseball has come to this determination," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "We look forward to Cliff completing his injury rehabilitation and returning to the mound to compete."
Lee was scheduled to throw in a second simulated game later Tuesday, hours before the Mariners host Baltimore. He says he feels no pain in the abdomen, which he has strained three times since 2003.