Well this sort of came out of nowhere: Chicago Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly had arthroscopic shoulder surgery (layman: diggin’ around in there) and debridement (layman: cleanin’ stuff up) yesterday. Some ongoing shoulder issues were known, but surgery was not previously discussed.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum performed the surgery in Los Angeles. He found no major damage to Lilly’s shoulder, and the one-hour procedure consisted of a washout and clean up of the shoulder.

“All the news that I’ve been given leads me to believe it was the right decision,” Lilly said Wednesday. “It was something I didn’t want to do, but I also started to feel that after a month and it still wasn’t getting better, I had thoughts of going into the [2010] season trying to battle through shoulder problems all year and I didn’t want to do that. I thought if I get it taken care of now and get it behind me, I’d be all right.”

Lilly said he would’ve had the procedure done sooner in the offseason if he had known his shoulder wasn’t going to bounce back.

“From Ted’s point of view, it will give him comfort that there is no significant damage,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. “Now he goes about his business with an outstanding rehab and he can possibly be stronger than he was in [2009]. He’s still got some career after [2010].” cubs.com.

The good news is that there was no major damage. The bad news is that Lilly cannot begin throwing until the turn of the year. The worse news? Lilly is not expected to be able to pitch in a game until April.

Fortunately, the early season is rife with opportunities to get by with a four-man rotation. But this does cast further doubt on the viability of the Cubs plans to carry on without re-signing Rich Harden, and replacing him with an internal option like Tom Gorzelanny or Jeff Samardzija.

Zambrano, Dempster, Wells (fluke?), ?, ? … are you inspired?



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