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.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.