Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly has refused to make another rehab start after… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)
Now here’s a problem the Dodgers never saw coming. An uncomfortable standoff with left-hander Ted Lilly.
Lilly is on the 15-day disabled list and says he’s ready to pitch. The Dodgers think otherwise, or so they say. They want him to make another rehab start, and possibly two.
Lilly has already made a pair of rehab starts, throwing 90 pitches in his last one, and doesn’t see the need to make more. And as is his right, has refused another rehab assignment.
So now what?
At one point the Dodgers had three extra, veteran starters. But with Aaron Harang traded and Zack Greinke injured, they are now down to Lilly.
Now their options are either to activate, trade or waive him.
It would be difficult enough to trade a 37-year-old pitcher coming off shoulder surgery and still owed $12 million this year, but now it would be unwise. Now they might actually need him as a starter.
Lilly’s said he’s willing to go to the bullpen, and could naturally slip into the spot vacated by fellow left-hander Chris Capuano, who is being moved into the rotation to take Greinke’s spot.
But the Dodgers don’t seem keen on Lilly as a reliever, though they’ve said it remains a possibility.
Meanwhile, there is this awkward stare-down. Somebody will have to blink. The Dodgers could continue to keep him on the disabled list as long as they have room, though at some point Lilly might file a grievance. That would not be fun, a player claiming he’s healthy and being hidden on the DL.
Lilly fell slightly behind his recovery from shoulder surgery this spring because of illness and weather, but it’s April 15 now. He needs to be on some kind of throwing program. And if the Dodgers can’t convince him to make another start in the minors, they will have a difficult decision to make.
[Updated at 6:05 p.m.: Lilly blinked, or at least was convinced to make one more rehab start.
The Dodgers said Monday that Lilly will make a rehab start Tuesday night at Class A Rancho Cucamonga (corrected). This seems a temporary solution, but at least Lilly can say he did everything the Dodgers asked. He was not in the clubhouse Monday.
When he returns, however, the situation will remain unchanged unless the Dodgers are willing to use him in relief, which hardly follows trying to stretch him out as a starter.]
With Padres in town, Dodgers urge calm among fans
Josh Beckett is terrific but Dodgers offense falters again, 1-0
Carlos Quentin drops appeal of suspension, won't see Dodgers Monday