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Ted Lilly thinks he could return to Dodgers rotation soon

Starter Ted Lilly is encouraged after a bullpen session and is also encouraging his friend Ryan Dempster to consider a trade offer from the Dodgers.

July 20, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Ted Lilly threw a 40-pitch bullpen session at Citi Field before Friday's game.
Ted Lilly threw a 40-pitch bullpen session at Citi Field before Friday's… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

NEW YORK -- After throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session Friday, sidelined starter Ted Lilly thinks he might be in position to help the Dodgers soon.

Lilly thinks one of his close friends would be able to help them too — that is, if they can agree to a trade with the Chicago Cubs.

Lilly played with Dodgers trade target Ryan Dempster from 2007 to 2010. The Dodgers have proposed a deal for Dempster.

"Obviously, he's a very good pitcher," Lilly said. "He's one of the best teammates I've ever had."

Lilly has told Dempster about his team. "All good things," Lilly said.

As a player with 10 years of major league service time who has spent the last five years with the same club, Dempster can block a trade to any team.

Lilly was upbeat about his own progress. He last pitched on May 23 and has been out since with shoulder inflammation.

Lilly said he threw at almost 100% intensity on Friday. For the first time since he landed on the disabled list, Lilly threw breaking pitches.

"I was letting it go pretty good," he said.

He said he plans to throw another bullpen session, then graduate to pitching a simulated game. After that, he thinks he will be ready to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

Being out for so long has been tough.

"I don't remember ever being this despising of the DL," Lilly said. "It's definitely been more of an effort to be positive and not get down."

Cruz content

Twelve years into his professional baseball career, Luis Cruz finally hit a big league home run.

Cruz's two-run home run in the third inning on Friday extended the Dodgers' lead over the New York Mets to 6-2.

"It's a big day for me," Cruz said.

He was particularly proud that his home run came against Johan Santana. "That guy, he's one of the best pitchers in the league," Cruz said.

Before he was called up from triple-A Albuquerque on July 2, Cruz's major league career consisted of 56 games spread over three seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers.

Cruz grounded out on a changeup by Santana in the first inning. He said he moved up in the batter's box for his second at-bat.

Of the first five pitches Santana threw to Cruz in the third inning, three were changeups. Cruz fouled all of them off.

The sixth pitch of the at-bat was also a changeup — and Cruz sent it over the left-field wall.

Cruz said he has enjoyed the opportunity to face some of baseball's top pitchers in recent days.

The Dodgers faced Roy Halladay on Saturday and Cliff Lee on Sunday.

Short hops

Chad Billingsley remains on track to be activated on Monday for the opening game of a four-game series in St. Louis.... Manager Don Mattingly visited the New York Stock Exchange in the morning. Asked how he would solve the country's economic problems, Mattingly laughed. "I probably would not," he said. "I have trouble with my own. I have trouble getting the electric bill paid on time."

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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