By Sam Bush

Phillies ace lefty Cliff Lee is in the same place he was last July 31 when elbow pain caused him to miss the last two months of the season:

Surgery or not?

When you are 36 and have pitched as long as Lee has, the surgery option comes with it the obvious possibility that the result will be career-ending. And no athlete wants that.

Today, Lee is in the same position, awaiting a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on his ailing left elbow and says surgery would end his season and possibly his career.

The 36-year-old left-hander didn’t pitch after July 31 last year because of a flexor pronator strain in his left elbow. He said the elbow felt normal as he threw two scoreless innings Thursday against Houston in his spring training debut, but he felt discomfort the next day. An MRI on Sunday revealed “very mild inflammation,” according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

“Basically, if I have the surgery, this season will be done, possibly my career, I guess,” Lee said. “I don’t know. We’ll have to see.”

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