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.
In a less-notable move on Friday, the Rays acquired right-hander Wilmer Font from the Athletics in exchange for minor league right-hander Peter Bayer. Font was designated for assignment by the A’s on Wednesday.
This is the second trade involving the righty since the start of the season. The Athletics acquired 28-year-old Font from the Dodgers in late April, but were underwhelmed by his performance after he racked up 11 runs, five home runs, four walks and nine strikeouts in his first 6 2/3 innings of relief. While the rookie has yet to prove himself at the big league level, he posted a much more respectable pitching line with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, going 10-8 in 25 starts with a 3.42 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9 in 134 1/3 innings. It’s still unclear whether the Rays intend to give him another opportunity in the majors this year or use him as depth in the minors.
Bayer, 24, is still a ways away from cracking any major league roster. He advanced to High-A Charlotte prior to the trade and allowed eight runs, two homers, six walks and six strikeouts in his first four innings.