Tagged: Ted Lilly

3/4 Lilly named special assistant

Ted Lilly knew he couldn’t pitch any more but wanted to stay in the game, and on Tuesday, was named to a job in the Cubs’ front office. Lilly, 38, officially is a special assistant to Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, and he will do a variety of tasks, such as helping with scouting and developing the young players. Epstein, Hoyer and Lilly discussed the job at the Cubs Convention in January.

“His reputation with the Cubs is sterling, which is fantastic, and not only as a person but as a competitor,” Hoyer said. “I really liked what he had to say. A lot of guys want to get back in and don’t want to work that much, and he made it clear he wants to work and wants to get involved in scouting.

“I think we’ll use him in a variety of ways,” Hoyer said. “He feels he has a pretty eye and likes to try to evaluate but also was really humble and knows he has to learn how to do it. He was excited to get back involved and I think we’ll feel out how to use him.”

Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry hired Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux in a similar role in 2010. Hoyer said Lilly will watch the Minor League pitchers, visit the Cubs’ affiliates, and scout some amateur players.

“It was pretty clear after a few conversations that he had something to add,” Hoyer said of Lilly. “I like the fact that to finish it off, he was with a Cubs team that won 97 games and they had success, and as we try to figure out how to build a winner in Chicago, he was part of it.”

Lilly pitched for 15 seasons with the Expos, Yankees, Athletics, Blue Jays, Cubs and Dodgers. He was in Chicago from 2007-10, helping the team win back to back National League Central titles in 2007-08.

“I wanted to stay in the game,” Lilly said. “I would love to keep playing, too, but at this point, I’m sure that I’m retired from being on the field. I want to be around the game and I feel like I have something to offer. This is an organization that I’d prefer to be with, so it worked out.”

Lilly was limited to 13 starts the last two seasons with the Dodgers because of injuries. He started thinking about doing more than pitching in that time.

“The last couple years, when I had a lot of free time to think, I did start thinking about when my career was over,” Lilly said. “I wanted to keep playing but I definitely started thinking about this [type of work] at the end.”

Lilly has two young children, a 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, and another child due in September, which makes a job as a pitching coach tough because of the time commitment needed. He is committed to the Cubs.

“The experiences I had the first couple years here winning were incredible in the sense that we put together a team that was expected to win,” Lilly said. “We didn’t accomplish the ultimate goal of winning a World Series but it was such a great experience. We had so many professionals in the clubhouse and guys who went about it the right way. I think that’s why I’ll always refer to those two years in Chicago as the best years I’ve had as a player.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/6 Lilly on Dempster

Ted Lilly, now with the Dodgers, says Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster had a huge influence on him:

“A unique, very special human being,” Lilly said. “As a player, definitely as a person. Best example I know of living in the moment, life to its fullest. I learned a lot from watching him appreciate everything he has at the end of the day.”

— Carrie Muskat

12/10 Celebrating Santo

It was an impressive turnout Friday at Ron Santo’s funeral at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Among the guests to pay respects to the broadcaster and third baseman were Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams, as well as Glenn Beckert and Randy Hundley. The casket was first escorted up the steps of the church by Cubs traveling secretary Jimmy Bank, WGN Radio engineer Matt Boltz, and some of Santo’s radio partners, including Andy Masur, Cory Provus and Judd Sirott.

“It was our last pregame show together,” said Masur, now a broadcaster with the Padres.

Pat Hughes, who was Santo’s partner for 15 seasons on WGN Radio delivered a tribute as did Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts.

“Ron was the fans’ broadcaster — he was the fan in the booth,” Ricketts said.

Others at the service included Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, and broadcasters Gary Matthews, Thom Brennaman, Len Kasper, and Bob Brenly. Several Cubs players, past and present, were, including Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, Koyie Hill, Tom Gorzelanny, Justin Berg, Ted Lilly, Kevin Orie, Dave Otto and Scott Sanderson. Cubs manager Mike Quade, general manager Jim Hendry and the rest of the team’s front office also were present to pay respects.

“He’s the No. 1 Cubs fan ever,” Hughes said.

Santo got one last look at Wrigley Field as the funeral procession did a lap of the ballpark.

— Carrie Muskat

10/13 AFL update

Mesa Solar Sox manager Casey Kopitzke, who managed the Cubs’ Class A Peoria team, posted an 8-3 win on Tuesday over the Phoenix Desert Dogs and manager Don Mattingly in the Arizona Fall League opener. The Solar Sox, who have seven Cubs prospects on the roster, will face the Desert Dogs again Wednesday night at HoHoKam Park in Mesa (6:35 p.m. Arizona time).

The Cubs pitchers slated to go include Jake Muyco, a converted catcher; plus David Cales, Chris Carpenter and Kyle Smit, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Ted Lilly-Ryan Theriot-Blake DeWitt deal. Also, third baseman Josh Vitters, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2007, may play. He missed most of the 2010 season because of a broken hand.

— Carrie Muskat

9/22 Recipe for … ?

Ryan Dempster, Kosuke Fukudome, Koyie Hill and Alfonso Soriano need not worry. At least I hope not. There is no “curse of the cookbook.”

The four Cubs are featured on the cover of the Chicago Cubs Cookbook along with Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, Tyler Colvin, Geovany Soto and Carlos Zambrano. Since publication in July, Lee and Lilly have been traded, while Colvin and Soto are done for the year because of injuries. We all know what a roller coaster ride Zambrano has been on.

After seeing the proofs for the cookbook cover earlier this season, Randy Wells was upset he wasn’t included. Not anymore.

But this is nothing like the black cat or the billy goat who haunt the Cubs. That didn’t stop manager Mike Quade from joking about it. Told about what’s happened to some of the cover boys, Quade quipped: “Please tell me I’m not on the cover.”

Not to worry, “Q.” However, he does share a delicious pecan crusted snook recipe.

The book is available on Cubs.com and proceeds benefit Dempster’s foundation, which is a good thing. The book was recently ranked among the top 15 sports and recreation books in the country in sales, according to a list published in the Wall Street Journal. It’s for a good cause and good eating.

— Carrie Muskat


8/25 Silva to Peoria Friday

Cubs pitcher Carlos Silva will make a rehab start Friday for the Class A Peoria Chiefs against Cedar Rapids. Silva, 31, has been on the disabled list because of an abnormal heart rate. He underwent a procedure Aug. 9, and threw a simulated game last Sunday in Chicago. Silva is the third Cubs player to rehab in Peoria this year. Aramis Ramirez and Ted Lilly also made appearances for the Class A team.

— Carrie Muskat

8/8 Zambrano set for Monday

Carlos Zambrano returns to the rotation on Monday, making his first start since June 25 when he opens the Cubs series against the Giants. Since that June game, Zambrano (3-6, 5.61 ERA) has thrown a tantrum, been suspended for three games, placed on the restricted list, undergone anger management sessions, been activated and inserted into the bullpen for three appearances.

His longest outing was two innings on Aug. 1 in Denver when he threw 53 pitches. The right-hander made one more relief appearance Wednesday and has thrown on the side. He should be able to go at least 75-80 pitches Monday.

The Cubs Opening Day starter, Zambrano was 3-5 with a 6.12 ERA in nine starts and 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in 16 relief appearances. He also switched to the bullpen in April when he agreed to make room in the rotation Ted Lilly, who was activated from the disabled list at that time.

What was encouraging about his last two outings has been an increase in velocity.

“He threw the ball well,” Lou Piniella said of Zambrano. “He let it go — he was throwing 92, 93 miles an hour and he was competing really well.

“Let’s see what we see [Monday] night,” Piniella said. “I’m expecting him to pitch well. The last time he pitched there, he pitched a complete game shutout.”

That was Zambrano’s next to last start of the 2009 season on Sept. 25 when he gave up two hits over nine scoreless innings, and was in command, throwing 98 pitches.

— Carrie Muskat

8/4 Dempster on Lilly

Ryan Dempster did not want to talk Saturday about the trade that sent Ted Lilly to the Dodgers because he not only lost a teammate but a good friend.

“With Teddy, I appreciated him every day for what a teammate he was and what a competitor he was more than anything,” Dempster said Wednesday. “I always thought I was the most competitive person out there and I never thought I’d find anyone more competitive until I met him. We pushed each other as individuals to do the best we can to help our team.

“The 3 1/2 years I played with him were as good a time as I had playing baseball and I learned as much from him as he learned from me — I probably learned more from him,” Dempster said. “It was such an honor, and not just as a baseball player but as a human being, to be around him every day. I know they got somebody pretty special over there. Hopefully, someday down the road, I’ll get the chance to play with him again.

“You don’t find too many guys like that out there. He’s a unique and special human being and a tremendous pitcher and tremendous competitor.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/2 Coleman to join Cubs Monday

The Cubs will add another pitcher to the bullpen on Monday when the call up Casey Coleman from Triple-A Iowa. His father, Joe, and his grandfather, Joe, both pitched in the big leagues and the Coleman family will be the first pitchers in Major League Baseball to have three generations play.

Coleman was 10-7 with a 4.07 ERA in 20 starts at Iowa. He has struck out 59 in 117 1/3 innings, and was holding batters to a .243 average. He doesn’t overpower hitters and has been compared more to a Greg Maddux type of pitcher.

Thomas Diamond was expected to be called up to make Tuesday’s start against the Brewers. The right-hander was 5-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 21 starts for Iowa, striking out 104 in 108 1/3 innings. Opposing teams were hitting .218 off him.

The Cubs are at 24 on the roster with the trade of Ted Lilly to the Dodgers (Blake DeWitt takes Ryan Theriot’s spot). Details to come.

— Carrie Muskat