SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly will not start a Cactus League game this spring, but he will make at least two starts in the Minor League camp, beginning on Saturday. The left-hander, who is coming back from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, isn't being held back. The Cubs simply want to keep the other starting pitchers on schedule. "This will be the next-to-last workload for all our starters," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said on Tuesday, "and it'll be the biggest workload of the spring for them. We don't want them coming into the game for the third inning or so. I think Lilly will start and be on the same program the rest of the pitchers were, starting [Saturday]."
Lilly was OK with the news. "The reason is it's our best option as a team," Lilly said on Wednesday. "At least I still get a chance to get some work in. I've got to be happy with where I'm at coming off surgery. I'm going to pitch to hitters and I'm getting out there and I'm on the field. "I would've liked to have been able to pitch in a game, but this just makes more sense as a team that I go over to pitch at Fitch Park." If there are no setbacks, Lilly could be inserted into the Cubs' rotation sometime after April 15, Piniella said. Carlos Silva, who came out of his last start after two innings because of a tight right quad, was able to do his bullpen session on Tuesday. He was expected to make his next start. The Cubs will trim the spring camp roster to 30 players by Friday. They are currently at 40 with two players, Lilly and Angel Guzman, projected to open the season on the disabled list. Guzman underwent surgery on his right shoulder on Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala. Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny, two candidates for the rotation, will each make a start on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, before the Cubs announce how they'll configure their pitching. The good news is that both Piniella and general manager Jim Hendry feel better about the pitching staff now than coming into camp. "We're fortunate that even though we lost Lilly and [Rich] Harden left via free agency, we have four pitchers here with Major League experience and they can get the job done," Piniella said. "What's encouraging is the fact that Ted Lilly is basically right on schedule and he feels really good about himself, and that's good news for us. I think our pitching will do fine."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.