Updating a previous item, where it was thought that Chicago Cubs pitcher, coming off minor shoulder surgery, would begin throwing again in January – uh, he might not.
Now, he’s not expected to start really throwing until March. How that makes a full-time return in April – at least not the first half of April – realistic, I’m not too sure. Guh.
While the surgery wasn’t considered particularly serious, and no significant structural damage was reported, Lilly’s not expected to begin a throwing program until early March, making his and the team’s projected return of sometime in April seem at least optimistic.
Recoveries from shoulder surgeries, even among the least severe, are harder to predict than most baseball-related surgeries — particularly when you’re talking about a pitcher who will be 34 next season, with 1,524 2/3 innings on his big-league odometer.
But general manager Jim Hendry said he trusts Yocum’s projections and doesn’t plan to look this winter for a replacement for Lilly, and he isn’t expected to change his mind on allowing Rich Harden to leave via free agency.
”This wouldn’t alter our plans about adding another starter because Lew Yocum is one of the best in the world,” Hendry, who’s in Mesa, Ariz., for the annual organizational meetings, said during a conference call Wednesday. ”We certainly don’t want to take that spot away from Ted if he’s ready.”
Lilly, the Cubs’ lone All-Star in 2009, is to begin range-of-motion work immediately and be evaluated again in early January, at which time a more precise timeline on a throwing program is to be determined.
”All in all, the news is good,” Lilly said earlier on the conference call. ”There wasn’t anything either structurally wrong with my shoulder or any significant damage. My intention is to get back as soon as I can without setting myself back.”
Lilly’s reputation as one of the hardest training players on the team and perhaps its most competitive should work in his favor — and also might have played a role in not considering surgery earlier than late last week when he made the decision.
”It was something I didn’t want to do,” he said. ”But after a month [following the season] it still wasn’t getting better, and I started having thoughts of going into the 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.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.
One concern – if the shoulder was bothering him so much that he was willing to risk the start of the 2010 season (his free agency season), should we be happy that nothing significant was discovered? Might it not have been better if something significant was found and fixed?
Now, he may rehab, and find that the shoulder issues are simply endemic to his shoulder (a la Mr. Prior). I guess as long as he pitches through it as well as he did last year. Screw long-term health. I want a championship.