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Finally some good news on the player injury front. Chicago Cubs starter Ted Lilly, coming back from offseason shoulder surgery, and delayed by a stomach bug, threw 30 pitches off the mound yesterday.  He’d actually thrown once before off the mound in Mesa, but this time, he threw with “intensity.”

Which is awesome.

“So far, no bumps in the road and we’ll just keep progressing,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Monday.

The Cubs aren’t sure if Lilly will be able to pitch in a Cactus League game. He is not expected to be ready by Opening Day but perhaps the middle of April or early May.

“You always look for any bumps in the road that might come up and hopefully limit the time if there are any,” Rothschild said. “He’s already had the virus so hopefully that’s all behind him.” Muskat Ramblings.

Don’t allow yourself to hope for a return before May 1, and you won’t be disappointed. That said, Lilly’s return is critical, and every start he misses is another opportunity to tax what could be a thinly-stretched bullpen. Hopefully he stays on track, and makes his way back in April without the need for a substitute starter.

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