So when Cliff Lee sounded in Minnesota last week like a man with a slightly wandering eye toward locations that aren't Philadelphia, it created a bit of a brush fire in the City of Brotherly Love.
And on Tuesday night -- after improving to 9-2 with a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals -- Lee didn't exactly say anything to throw water on the idea that he may want to split town.
"I want to win, and I want to win here," Lee said. "For whatever reason, we've been on the bad side for the past year and a half. I don't think anybody here is happy about it. I want to win. I signed here to win. That's not ever going to change."
But when he was asked whether he wanted to back away from the comments after the win over the Twins on Thursday, Lee didn't backtrack.
"I was asked questions, and I answered them truthfully about how I felt," he said. "I don't really care how it's interpreted, to be honest with you."
In reality, it may not matter if Lee wants out. The Phillies sound like they have every intention of keeping Lee and pairing him with Cole Hamels for years to come.
"I have talked to Cliff, and I talked to him before he made those comments," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We're in complete agreement. I want to win too. I told him the same thing. The organization wants to win. The players want to win. The staff wants to win. We haven't played winning baseball yet this year, but I think all of our goals are the same. As I told someone earlier, yes, I want Cliff to want to be here. But Cliff doesn't have a trade-me clause. He has a no-trade clause. I hope to win with him, and I think we have a much better chance to win with him than without him. To have Hamels and Lee at the top of the rotation gives us a much better chance at winning than not."
NEXT: Nationals (Gio Gonzalez, 3-3, 3.40) at Phillies (Kyle Kendrick, 6-4, 3.76)
C Carlos Ruiz, out since May 19 with a hamstring pull, was activated from the disabled list Tuesday and went 1-for-3. He is hitting .241 in 17 games this season.
C Steven Lerud was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make room on the roster for Carlos Ruiz. Lerud was hitless in five at-bats for the Phillies.
RHP Kyle Kendrick, Wednesday's starter, took a no-decision in his last start, June 14 at Colorado. Kendrick allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings, while failing to strike out a batter. He walked two. Kendrick is 4-6 in 20 appearances against Washington, 18 of them starts.
LHP Cliff Lee limited the Nationals to five hits over eight innings Tuesday to win his seventh straight game, the third-longest active win streak in the National League. Lee, who struck out nine and didn't walk a batter, is now 9-2. He has worked at least seven innings in his last nine starts, allowing three runs or fewer in each.
2B Chase Utley, out since May 20 with a strained oblique, was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday at Double-A Reading, but he saw that pushed back because of inclement weather. Utley is hitting .272 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 44 games this season.
1B Ryan Howard went 1-for-3 with his second triple of the season and the month. Before June 5, Howard had hit just one triple in his previous 323 games. Howard also drove in a run with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly, the 957th RBI of his career. That drew him into a tie with Sam Thompson for fifth on the Phillies' all-time list.
CF Ben Revere went 1-for-4 to run his hitting streak to nine games. Revere is hitting .415 (17-for-41) in that span. His average stands at .274.
2B Kevin Frandsen went 1-for-4 with a two-run single Tuesday, extending his hitting streak to six games. Frandsen, 7-for-17 in that span, is hitting .286 overall, but figures to return to the bench when Chase Utley returns.
"I have talked to Cliff, and I talked to him before he made those comments. We're in complete agreement. I want to win too. I told him the same thing. The organization wants to win. The players want to win. The staff wants to win. We haven't played winning baseball yet this year, but I think all of our goals are the same. As I told someone earlier, yes, I want Cliff to want to be here. But Cliff doesn't have a trade-me clause. He has a no-trade clause. I hope to win with him, and I think we have a much better chance to win with him than without him. To have Hamels and Lee at the top of the rotation gives us a much better chance at winning than not."—General manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
LHP Jeremy Horst (strained left elbow) was placed on the disabled list June 17, retroactive to June 16.
2B Chase Utley (grade 1 right oblique strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 21. He began taking batting practice June 14. He was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment June 18 at Double-A Reading, but he saw that pushed back because of inclement weather.
C Carlos Ruiz (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list May 21. He ran June 3 for the first time since suffering the injury and hit for the first time June 4. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 15 and was activated June 18.
C Erik Kratz (torn medial meniscus in left knee) went on the 15-day disabled list June 9. He had surgery June 12 and he is out until late July or early August.
RHP Roy Halladay (torn rotator cuff, strained labrum, bone spur in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 6, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 24. He underwent surgery May 15.
LHP Cole Hamels
LHP Cliff Lee
RHP Kyle Kendrick
RHP Jonathan Pettibone
LHP John Lannan
RHP Jonathan Papelbon (closer)
RHP Mike Adams
LHP Antonio Bastardo
RHP Justin De Fratus
RHP Michael Stutes
LHP Joe Savery
LHP Jake Diekman
1B Ryan Howard
2B Kevin Frandsen
SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Michael Young
INF Freddy Galvis
INF Michael Martinez
LF Domonic Brown
CF Ben Revere
RF Delmon Young
OF John Mayberry
OF Laynce Nix