Cubs manager Lou Piniella sounded upbeat after Ted Lilly threw on the backfields at HoHoKam Park early Saturday:
“We want to keep him under the radar gun and not talk much about it,”
Piniella said of Lilly’s progress. “He’s coming along really well. He’s
had no setbacks whatsoever. He’s actually ahead of schedule.
“We feel pretty good about the possibility of him pitching some Spring
Lilly, who was 12-9 with a 3.10 ERA last season, is currently working his way back from offseason surgery on his left shoulder. He has quickly ramped up his rehab schedule after undergoing an MRI on his right knee and missing time with a virus early on in camp.
The 34-year-old southpaw was originally expected to be ready in mid-April or early-May, but that timeline could obviously change depending on when he sees game action.
The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.
The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.
Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.
Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.