Found July 20, 2013 on
MLB Injury News:
Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw Ted Lilly, out since June 4, continued working his way back to action on Friday night. MLB.com's Andrew Simon reports that Lilly threw 20 pitches to teammate Matt Kemp (also recovering from injury) and reported no issues with the strained neck that put him on the disabled list for the third time this year.
Twenty pitches would allow Lilly to join the Dodgers' bullpen without necessarily needing more rehab assignments. Lilly made two starts for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga before the All-Star break, but manager Don Mattingly plans to use him out of the bullpen after a few more simulated games. Lilly will throw again on Saturday and then start simulating multiple innings next week.
Lilly has relieved only 25 times in his 15-year career, and his last relief appearance came in 2003. However, Mattingly implied that Lilly, now 37, both wants and needs to move to the bullpen. Said Mattingly,
"That's what he's wanting to do. In Teddy's words -- and I don't want to totally put the words in his mouth -- but he's feeling like his body is not responding to 90 pitches, and he's got a better chance of responding to 20 or 25. He's thinking his body's going to hold up a little bit better in a relief role, and so that's what we're trying to do."
Lilly is 130-113 with a 4.14 ERA in his career. This year, though, he has pitched in only five games (0-2, 5.09) and 23 innings. The Dodgers's bullpen is 12th in the National League in ERA (3.98), and it has used 14 different pitchers. Lilly could provide stability, and he is used to facing both right- and left-handed hitters.
Perhaps a move to the bullpen would benefit Lilly as much as the Dodgers or any other team. He could throw fewer pitches more often and possibly extend his career a few more years. In the future, he could become a trade candidate to a contending team in need of a left-handed specialist. Lilly is a free agent after the season, and it is doubtful that he will get anywhere close to the $12 million that he is making this year as a 37-year-old who spent three stints on the disabled list.
The first goal is to get back to the Dodgers in whatever capacity Lilly can best help his team. The Dodgers are hot right now, and getting Lilly back -- even in the bullpen -- could give them an extra push toward a National League West division title or at least a wild card berth.
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