Koyie Hill and Ted Lilly spent the off day together Thursday, fly fishing in Colorado. They sat next to each other in the dugout for most of Friday’s game. And on Saturday, they said goodbye.
Lilly was dealt to the Dodgers along with Ryan Theriot for infielder Blake DeWitt and two Minor League pitchers. The Cubs lost a key player in the clubhouse in Lilly.
“He’ll tell you as much as I will that he’s a little behind some guys but his mind and the way he competes is his best attribute,” Hill said of Lilly. “You don’t have to throw 96 [mph] or hit .330 and hit a bunch of homers to inspire guys.”
The left-hander led the Major Leagues in the least amount of run support but never blamed the offense for not backing him up.
“There’s so many things you can take from his game, mentally, physically and heart-wise,” HIll said. “You can take so much from what he offers as a player, as a teammate, as a friend. I consider him one of my best friends and teammates I’ve played with. It’s a bad day for all of us in here who respected him so much. Life goes on.”
They did chat during Friday’s game about how Lilly may be leaving.
“A little bit,” Hill said. “We spent our off day driving down to North Fork Ranch to go fly fishing. We were buddies. He’s right up there, all time. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so, not down but just a weird feeling when you lose somebody like that. Goodbyes are never easy.”
— Carrie Muskat