Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly is expected to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday, though it hasn't yet been finalized.
"I haven't talked to Teddy, if he's going or not," said manager Don Mattingly before Wednesday night's game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Lilly was placed on the disabled list Sunday, retroactive to Mar. 28, and the reason given was left shoulder labrum surgery. Lilly had the procedure on Sept. 21 in Los Angeles, but hasn't had any shoulder-related issues during spring training. Lilly said on Tuesday that he felt healthy and wasn't sure yet what his next step would be.
"It's just until he gets himself built up. We talked about it all spring," Mattingly said. "He just got behind early, and coming off surgery he never got caught up."
Lilly pitched just nine innings in Cactus League play, and allowed 14 runs, eight walks, and six strikeouts. He was scratched from two starts with illness, and had another one cut short via rain. His longest outing of the Cactus League was 2⅔ innings, though Lilly did throw 59 pitches in five innings in a minor league game.
A rehabilitation assignment can last up to 30 days and though Mattingly didn't specify exactly how long Lilly would be on assignment it figures to last at least three or four outings.
"I haven't seen (pitching coach Rick Honeycutt's) program, but I know he's starting at four innings," Mattingly said. "Everyone in camp, we're trying to build toward 105 pitches. That's when we feel like guys are ready to go."
Then there is the matter of just what Lilly's role would be once he is finally built up to pitch enough innings to start. The Dodgers already have five starters, plus starters Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang already in the bullpen. What will the Dodgers do when Lilly is ready?
"Then we'll make a decision," Mattingly said.