Ted Lilly Setback; Rotation Changes for Opening Week @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 10 April 2010 by Lou

Ted Lilly’s sore back kept him from making a scheduled start for Triple-A Iowa today.  His session was pushed back a few days until Sunday.  Although Manager Lou Pinella said that “this is not a setback”, how can it not be?  The Cubs were pushing a fast schedule for Lilly to get back into the Cubs starting rotation by the 3rd week of the season.  At this rate, it will be a week since his last outing when he threw 67 pitched over 5+ innings in a minor league game in Mesa.  Is he really ready?  Should they give him another 2 minor league starts to make sure he is fully healed?  Given the off days built into the schedule in the 1st two weeks of the season (see below), why rush him back when we won’t have to rely on Carlos Silva or Tom Gorzelanny too much.  The Cubs need Lilly to make close to 30 starts, so I would take it slow with the veteran.  But I guess they don’t pay me to make these decisions.

Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild and Pinella tweaked the Cubs starting rotation a little given Carlos Zambrano’s short opening day start.  Zambrano will now start Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati.  Tom Gorzelanny gets bumped back to a Sunday start against the Reds.  Ryan Dempster will make the Cubs home opener against the Brewers at Wrigley Field on Monday.  Wells will face the Brewers on Wednesday, while Zambrano will come back and pitch the series finale against the Brewers on Thursday.  Carlos Silva will have to wait a week before he makes his 2nd 2010 start on Friday against the Astros at Wrigley Field.  Given all of these off days and the juggling of the rotation, the Cubs will not have needed a true “5-man rotation” until the 3rd week of the season when the Cubs travel to New York to face the Mets.

Let’s hope the Cubs can put together a nice little string of starts against upcoming “weaker opponents” like the Astros, Mets and Nationals in the month of April…

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