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Thursday, March 18, 2010
Lilly anxious to get on mound

ESPNChicago.com

Pitcher Ted Lilly returned to Chicago Cubs camp on Thursday following the birth of his first child, ready to take the next step in his return from November's shoulder surgery: facing live hitter in batting practice.

"I feel pretty darn good," Lilly said. "Really, the most important thing is when you get out there on the mound. I haven't thrown any breaking balls at this point, but it's a different deal when you're throwing bullpen or even [batting practice] as opposed to getting into a game and working out of a jam. The intensity goes up quite a bit."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Tuesday that the plan is for Lilly to throw to hitters again in a few days after Thursday's session and follow that with a simulated game. If all goes well, Piniella expected Lilly to get one Cactus League start before spring training ends.

Piniella said Lilly then likely would get three minor-league starts before being added to the 25-man roster.

"I don't know what the timeline is and what that all means," Lilly said on Thursday. "I have to show not only that I can get out there and throw, but I can be of some help to the team."

Lilly tied for the team lead with 12 victories last season and has won 44 games in his three seasons with the Cubs.

"I haven't had any reason not to go forward other than minor discomforts here and there, just things that go along when you're coming back from an injury," Lilly said. "I think it's normal to have to battle through stuff."

Lilly's wife, Natasha, gave birth on Sunday to Theodore Roosevelt IV.

ESPNChicago.com's Melissa Isaacson contributed information used in this report.