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When it comes to Chicago Cubs injuries, you can’t criticize me for reporting non-news as news. Starter Ted Lilly is still rehabbing, and things are still looking good for a mid-April return.

“Now it’s just a matter of getting my pitch count up and stamina,” he said Thursday, “to make sure I can get through longer innings and be prepared so when I come back at some point, maybe not my first start or two, be able to throw 100 plus pitches and feel good about it.”

Counting Sunday, Lilly has three starts before he will be cleared to join the Cubs rotation. That would put him back with the big league team about the third week of April.

He will not be in Atlanta where the Cubs open the regular season on Monday.

“This is definitely not the way I’d like to draw it up,” said Lilly, who could only watch as his teammates packed their gear bags at HoHoKam Park. “All things being considered, just the fact that I’m healthy at this point and throwing the ball without any pain, I consider myself pretty fortunate. I’m definitely not going to complain about anything. I’m lucky as it is.” Muskat Ramblings.

It will be interesting to see how effective Lilly is out of the gate. We’ve been so happy just to see him throwing pain free so far that little about his actual performance has been discussed. After Lilly throws on Sunday, he’ll throw a couple of minor league games, and we’ll start to get a sense of not only how healthy he is, but how season-ready he is.

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