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gods-wrathChicago Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly is just waiting for the plague of frogs.

It’s been a rough offseason for Lilly, who is recovering from knee and shoulder issues, has been sick all week. Everyone hoped it wouldn’t actually be a set back, given that Lilly was largely resting anyway, but Lilly himself said it’s been a problem.

Lilly, already behind the other Cubs pitchers because of rehab from minor shoulder surgery in November, returned to camp Friday and threw lightly but still wasn’t back to his strength level of last weekend.

Unable to pitch for five days because of a virus, Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly has lost strength and probably won’t be able to meet his goal of starting the season on time. “I needed this time,” he said.

”This is definitely a setback,” said Lilly, the Cubs’ lone 2009 All-Star, who was trying to beat the team’s estimate that he’d return two to four weeks into the season.

”I lost, due to this, valuable time in spring training. I needed this time. I’m behind now, as far as training goes. I haven’t really been on my feet much at all in the past five days. Being out the four or five days that I’ve been out, it’s going to cost me more [rehab time] than that. … I guess in one regard it’s fortunate it’s not my shoulder or anything like that.”

Lilly, who leads the Cubs with 44 victories in the last three seasons, said he’d still like to work his way back to opening the season on time but didn’t sound very confident about it.

”I don’t know,” he said. ”I’m just going to get back as soon as I can. I don’t want to start the season on the disabled list. I don’t feel good about that. I don’t like being on that list or associated with it in any way, shape or form.

”I’ll work to get back out there pitching as soon as possible.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

If all this means is that Lilly won’t meet his personal goal of being ready to go for the first week of the season, so be it. It was a very optimistic goal anyway, and the Cubs can stand to go with four pitchers for the first couple of weeks anyway.

Any additional delay beyond that, however, and it could have a profoundly negative impact on a Cubs team whose margins for success are already razor thin.

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