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03/31/10 2:18 PM ET

Lee has pain-free throwing session

Mariners co-ace says he's 'heading in the right direction'

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The first good news left-hander Cliff Lee has had in the past two weeks emerged from the 55 throws he made to Mariners first-base coach Lee Tinsley on Wednesday.

With head athletic trainer Rick Griffin and several members of the media watching, Lee made 30 throws from one knee and 25 more while standing up to test the lower abdominal muscle he strained on March 15.

Despite the positive report, neither Lee nor the Mariners say they have any idea of when Lee will be able to make his first regular season start.

It had been almost a week since Lee played catch with as much vigor as he did Wednesday. Unlike the last time, when he still felt discomfort in the lower right side of his torso, he had a pain-free session.

"It went good," Lee said. "I didn't feel anything. Obviously, you guys watched and it was pretty light, but I am pleased with how I feel today. I am really pleased with how it went.

"It definitely is a step forward."

The Mariners know the regular season will start next Monday night in Oakland without their co-ace, but Wednesday's session went so well that he might be back sooner rather than later.

Lee said he would remain in Arizona for the next two days while the team plays the Rockies in Albuquerque and rejoin them in San Francisco for the final Spring Training game, against the Giants on Sunday.

"It's hard to know the season is about to start and I will be on the disabled list," he said. "Mentally, I want to push and get better, but I have to make sure I play it safe.

"My arm feels good and my legs feel good. But the abs keep everything together. Arm-wise, I feel I can let it go, but I'm afraid it will set me back, so I have to pull back the reins."

Lee apparently was injured in a collision near home plate with the Diamondbacks' Chris Snyder, an incident that later resulted in the Mariners pitcher being ejected and subsequently fined and suspended for five days.

The injury became worse three days later when Lee threw his usual between-starts bullpen session.

He has since been examined in Seattle by team medical director Dr. Ed Khalfayan, who prescribed platelet-rich plasma therapy, a process that uses the patient's own blood to speed recovery from sports-related injuries.

He has had one injection.

"The doctor recommended it and they [the Mariners] think it is going to help," Lee said. "Who am I to disagree? I've heard good things about it and how much it has helped other athletes. I am hoping it does the same for me."

So far, so good.

"We're heading in the right direction," Lee said.

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.