3/18 Lilly, Marshall, Samardzija updates

Ted Lilly threw to hitters on Thursday for the first time this spring, doing so back at HoHoKam Park. The lefty threw two sets of 20 pitches, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild said they’ll see how Lilly feels on Friday before deciding the next step. Lilly is expected to throw in at least one Cactus League game.

* Sean Marshall threw five innings of a simulated game on the backfield at HoHoKam Thursday. Jeff Samardzija, another candidate for the rotation, threw three innings on Wednesday in the Minor League camp. Whoever doesn’t make the rotation will likely go into the bullpen.

“I think Jeff would prefer to start,” Lou Piniella said Thursday. “The thing with Jeff is that he continues to improve as a pitcher, whether it’s in the bullpen or the rotation. What we don’t want to be caught with Jeff is to have him go back and forth and that’s why we’re taking our sweet time in Spring Training to see exactly what we do.”

Looking ahead, Randy Wells will start on Friday against the White Sox. On Saturday, the Cubs have split squad games. Carlos Zambrano will face the Royals in Mesa and Tom Gorzelanny will start against the Athletics in Phoenix.

— Carrie Muskat

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