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Ted Lilly eager to make his season debut for Dodgers

Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly will pitch Saturday after missing one start because of neck pain that landed him on the disabled list.

April 13, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly is scheduled to make his first start of the season Saturday against the San Diego Padres.
Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly is scheduled to make his first start of the season… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

Ted Lilly has waited for more than a week to make his season debut.

To him, it's felt substantially longer.

"It's not like I missed a ton of starts, but it feels like I missed a few," Lilly said.

He's missed one, to be exact. Lilly will make his season debut Saturday against the San Diego Padres.

"It's been fun watching us win," Lilly said. "At some point, we'd all like to be a part of what's going on."

A stiff neck threw off Lilly's throwing program in spring training, which, in turn, forced the left-hander to start the season on the disabled list. He said his neck is no longer bothering him.

"I don't have any excuses," he said.

His arm strength is where he wants it to be; he threw 83 pitches in a minor league rehabilitation game Sunday.

He wasn't satisfied with the results, however. He was pounded by the Angels' Class-A affiliate for seven runs, including six earned, in six innings.

He served up two home runs. Giving up home runs was a problem last season, when opponents hit 28 against him.

"The object is to keep the ball in the park," he said.

In the first year of his three-year, $33-million deal, Lilly was 12-14 with a 3.97 earned-run average last season.

His problem was consistency. He ended the season significantly better than he started it, winning five of his last six starts and posting a 2.09 ERA over his last 11 appearances. During the final two months, he limited opponents to a .169 average, which was lowest in the majors.

Decisions, decisions

Lilly's return will present a roster dilemma. Only three players have options that allow them to be sent to the minor leagues without clearing waivers: Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen and Josh Lindblom.

Guerra and Jansen won't be sent down; Guerra is the closer and Jansen is the primary eighth-inning man.

That means Lindblom could be the odd man out, even though he's arguably been the top performer out of the bullpen. Lindblom hasn't give up a run in the five innings he's pitched over three appearances.

Scully update

Vin Scully's health continues to improve, but the Hall of Fame broadcaster is unlikely to call the Dodgers' game on Saturday unless the weather drastically improves. Scully hasn't called the Dodgers' first four home games because of a bad cold.

Scully is expected to return Sunday.

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