3/11 Cubs notebook
Ted Lilly may face hitters in a live BP session on Sunday, which will be his next day to throw. Lilly is coming back from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. He threw 35 pitches on Wednesday.
“No problems,” Lilly said. “I’ve thrown a few changeups, no curveballs. In the past, I haven’t thrown a whole lot of breaking stuff in Spring Training. That’s not something you want to overdo at this point.”
* Alan Trammell will manage the Cubs in Las Vegas. Lou Piniella is staying back with the other half of the team in Arizona for games Friday against Milwaukee and Saturday against Cincinnati. Jeff Samardzija will face the Brewers while Tom Gorzelanny will start Friday in Vegas against the White Sox. Ryan Dempster makes his second start Saturday in Vegas while Sean Marshall faces the Reds. Piniella said he hopes the team can make some definite plans with the pitching by March 21-22.
* If Starlin Castro is going to open in the Minors, will he stay long in the big league camp? Piniella said that decision is up to Jim Hendry.
* Andres Blanco (sprained knee) is another week or so away from resuming baseball activities.
“Depending on what happens with Blanco will have a bearing on what we do with our bench,” Piniella said. “We have choices with our bench. Do we focus on defense? Do we focus on more offense? With the [Xavier] Nady situation, do we carry a couple extra outfielders because he can’t play outfield?”
Nady will be able to play outfield on Opening Day but is not expected to be able to throw at full speed until June 1. There’s been no talk about having Nady open the year on the disabled list.
“My understanding from talking to the trainer and our medical people is he can play a couple days a week early in the season and hopefully by the first of June, if need be, we can put him out there on a more consistent basis than that,” Piniella said. “We’ll have to wait and see. I don’t see the DL scenario at all. We haven’t even discussed that.”
* The Cubs do need five starters when they open the season. Sometimes with off days, a team can get by with four. The way it’s projected, the Cubs’ fifth starter would make four starts in April.
“I asked [Larry Rothchild] if we could get by with 11 pitchers in the month of April,” Piniella said. “I haven’t heard a positive response on that one yet.”
— Carrie Muskat