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Ted Lilly to have shoulder surgery; expected back by next spring

September 14, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Ted Lilly opened the season 5-0 with a 1.79 earned-run average in seven starts. Then his shoulder problems surfaced.
Ted Lilly opened the season 5-0 with a 1.79 earned-run average in seven starts.… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

That’s officially it for left-hander Ted Lilly this season, not that the announcement that he’ll have season-ending surgery next Friday came as a shock to anyone.

Lilly hasn’t pitched since May 23, his sore shoulder never responding to conservative treatment.

Now he’s scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, in what Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone said should not lead to a major operation.

“Ideally it is a simple clean-up procedure,” she said. “Obviously the doc won’t know exactly what he will or will not do until he gets inside the joint.

“We’re not expecting any large repairs of any kind or anything sort of out of the ordinary.”

Lilly was off to a terrific start before the shoulder flared up. He was 5-0 with a 1.79 earned-run average in his first seven starts and hoping for an All-Star berth.

But in his final start of the season with the shoulder flared, he surrendered eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Diamondbacks. He never made it back on the mound.

As his recovery dragged on, the Dodgers had come to assume he would not be able to return as a starting pitcher, but were hopeful the shoulder would become strong enough to allow him to pitch out of the bullpen.

After it still failed to respond, the Dodgers elected Thursday to have Dr. Neal ElAttrache perform the surgery. Falsone said if it is a clean-up procedure, Lilly could start playing catch by January.

“[Lilly] would be pretty much on point for spring training next year,” she said. “We should be all set for 2013.”

Lilly, 36, is under contract for one more season and scheduled to earn $13.16 million.

Falsone also said right-hander Chad Billingsley [elbow strain] was showing improvement and could start tossing a baseball when the Dodgers are in Cincinnati next weekend.

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