Ted Lilly underwent successful shoulder surgery performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles. Dr. Yocum found no major damage as he performed a washout and cleanup of the shoulder. Lilly’s shoulder still bothered him during the first few weeks of the off-season, so he opted to have the surgery now so that he would be ready to pitch for the bulk of the 2010 MLB schedule. Lilly had this to say: “All the news that I’ve been given leads me to believe it was the right decision. It was something I didn’t want to do, but I also started to feel that after a month and it still wasn’t getting better, I had 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.”
A typical recovery from a surgery like this would project Lilly to be ready to pitch in April. Lilly will start a shoulder strengthening program and immediately and then will be re-evaluated at the beginning of 2010 when the Cubs set a throwing program for Lilly. Lilly made 27 starts in 2009, going 12-9 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Lilly had a career high 21 quality starts and struck out 151 batters – his 4th straight season in which he has reached the 150 strikeout plateau.
Let’s hope Lilly can be ready fairly close to that April projection. The one bright spot all season long was the Cubs starting pitching with Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells and Lilly. Going into the 2010 campaign down 1 guy will put the Cubs in a difficult position. The good news is that it appears that there is no significant structural damage in Lilly’s shoulder which would have required additional time off.