Lilly begins road back

The timetable for Ted Lilly's return to the Cubs rotation is still anybody's guess. Barbara Johnston/US Presswire

Left-handed pitcher Ted Lilly's first day in Chicago Cubs camp was all about conditioning. The rehabbing pitcher, who is coming back from shoulder surgery in the fall, ran laps with teammate Ryan Dempster for the first half hour of an unscheduled practice on Wednesday.

Lilly is still unsure of the big question: When will he be able to pitch?

Lilly talked about a few things that will determine when he can come back.

"The first thing is when you get on the mound and you start throwing downhill off of a slope," Lilly said. "After that it would probably be when you get into a game situation and you try to really dial it up."

Lilly laughed when he heard about a media projection of June for his return.

"I didn't know that," Lilly said. "Maybe they have visited a fortune teller. Then again, maybe there is something to it, I don't know."

Lilly said failure is the greatest motivator for the Cubs this season. Any year a team with as much talent as the Cubs have misses the playoffs should be considered a failure, according to the pitcher.

"Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win the World Series, and I would imagine the other clubs that we're competing against would have the same thing," Lilly said. "I would just hope that none of us get caught up in what other people expect of us."

Lilly also pointed to the high amount of players at camp as an indication that it's all business this spring.