Lee has Cubs' blessing to join USA
GM Hendry said club would not stand in first baseman's way
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee was not expected back in the lineup until Friday, but if he wants to join Team USA this weekend, general manager Jim Hendry said he would not stand in his way.
Team USA is shorthanded at first base after Boston's Kevin Youkilis was sidelined with a mild left ankle sprain on Wednesday. Adam Dunn started at first against Venezuela in the Pool 2 finale of the World Baseball Classic.
Lee has not played since Monday because of a sore right quad, and Cubs manager Lou Piniella said on Wednesday that the first baseman most likely would not return to Cactus League play until Friday. Lee was batting .179 in 10 games this spring.
Lee was not available for comment after the Cubs' game on Wednesday.
Hendry said Wednesday night that he would support the first baseman if he decides to play in the World Baseball Classic, but he had not heard from anyone on Team USA or with Major League Baseball as to whether Lee was needed.
Team USA has advanced to the semifinals of the Classic, and it will play either Saturday or Sunday in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. team's opponent would be determined after the second round of play is completed.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.