U-S-A, U-S-A

Ted Lilly will make his only Cactus League tuneup Friday in Surprise against the Rangers. The Cubs’ lefty will leave on Sunday to join Team USA in Clearwater, Fla., to prep for the World Baseball Classic. Lou Piniella admitted Thursday he was a little concerned that Lilly will throw too hard too soon in the event. Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild have talked to Lilly.

“You get in a competitive situation and you throw all caution to the wind,” Piniella said.

Lilly will pitch in an exhibition game in Florida before the World Baseball Classic begins, and was scheduled to start Team USA’s third game.

“We can monitor pitch counts here,” Piniella said. “Over there, according to what we’ve been told, it’s 75 pitches [limit] and that’s a lot of pitches to throw this early in the Spring Training cycle. It takes us into the fifth start to get to 75 pitches in spring.”

Lilly is scheduled to go two innings Friday.

– Carrie Muskat

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