According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Ted Lilly’s rehab start on Sunday has been pushed back for a second time due to a stiff back. He was originally supposed to start on Friday night. According to Wittenmyer, he’ll throw a bullpen on Monday and is tentatively scheduled to start again on Wednesday.
Despite all that, Cubs manager Lou Piniella says that Lilly’s stiff back is “not a setback.” Meanwhile, a quick look at Merriam-Webster tells us that a setback is “a checking of progress.”
Whatever Sweet Lou wants to call it, Lilly is now unlikely to pitch for the Cubs this month. Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny will likely continue to round out the rotation until he is ready to return from the disabled list.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.