As we guessed a couple days ago, Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella has confirmed that if pitcher Ted Lilly sticks to his current schedule, he’d miss just two starts in April. Lilly, recovering from off-season shoulder surgery (and a knee-pain setback, and a viral setback), will throw to live batters for the first time on Thursday.

If all goes well on Thursday, Lilly will next throw a simulated game — or “assimilated game,” as Piniella calls it — then start in a Cactus League game. Lilly will stay back in Arizona when the big league team breaks camp to get more work in.

“Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] seems to think three starts will be enough,” Piniella said. “That’s why we’re optimistic.”

If the lefty does that, he could be in the Cubs’ rotation by mid to late April. cubs.com.

The three starts to which Lou was referring, if you’re doing the math, is one Cactus League start, and then two rehab starts – which would be the two starts he would miss with the big league club.






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