Lilly progressing; throws off mound

Ted Lilly is progressing in his rehab from shoulder surgery. Jerry Lai/US Presswire

PHOENIX -- Good news for the Chicago Cubs on the Ted Lilly front. The rehabbing left-hander threw 30 pitches off the mound on Sunday; by far the most extensive work of the spring for Lilly.

“So far no bumps in the road,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said.

Rothschild went on to say there is no timetable right now for Lilly to throw in a spring training game. The Cubs veteran pitcher will try to repeat the process of throwing 30 pitches off the mound in a couple of days.

  • Manager Lou Piniella said Monday that outfielder Xavier Nady may get in his first spring training competition on Thursday. Nady still is not ready to test his surgically repaired right elbow in the outfield, but he will DH.

    Nady is on a light throwing program with no direct timetable for when he’ll be able to play the outfield this spring.

  • Piniella feels there are five or six candidates for two bullpen roles.

    “I was talking to Larry this morning, who he considers the top young pitchers here,” Piniella said. “And who should get the most look-and-see, so I got a nice report from him.

    “Obviously, I can’t share it with you. But there are five or six kids who can come in here and compete for a job over the next three weeks.”

    Piniella was asked what he looks for in the make-up of young pitchers.

    “They all have good arms or else they wouldn’t be here,” Piniella said. “They all have ability, you have to find out about the experience factor and how they respond.”

    Candidates for the bullpen include left-hander James Russell; right-hander Casey Coleman; lefty John Gaub and righty Jeff Stevens.

  • Second baseman Mike Fontenot will start to get some looks at short in Monday’s contest vs. the A’s. Piniella believes Andres Blanco will be back to try to win a backup role in two weeks. Fontenot, who injured his right knee Saturday, is wearing a full leg brace to keep the knee stabilized.

    The Cubs infielder is taking anti-inflammatory medication as well as getting electronic stimulation on the injured knee. Blanco said he’s using a stationary bike to keep his leg strong.