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.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.