3/22 Samardzija makes his case

Carlos Silva and Jeff Samardzija started Sunday and Monday, respectively. Now, it’s down to Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny to make their case to be in the Cubs’ rotation. They start Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Lou Piniella has said he won’t make a decision until Friday after all four get one more turn.

“The whole thing is how does it benefit the ballclub the best way,” Piniella said about the rotation makeup. “We have a lot of young kids in that bullpen. We have to have a little experience. We’ve let all four compete and we’ll be as fair as fair can be. … It’s not going to be a clear cut decision but at the same time, it’s a decision that has to be made.”

Plus, one of the two pitchers who do make it into the rotation may be bumped as soon as Ted Lilly is ready. The lefty threw 35 pitches in a simulated game Monday and wants to start in a Cactus League game next.

“If you ask him now, he’ll tell you he thinks he can be the Opening Day starter,” Piniella said. “Let’s be realistic about this thing.”

Lilly is coming off arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. The Cubs want to avoid any setbacks. Piniella was encouraged by what he saw on the backfield.

“I wasn’t expecting him to be that far along,” Piniella said.

So, maybe Lilly could be ready to go on Opening Day?

“Yeah, in Keokuk, Iowa,” Piniella said.

He was joking, Ted.

— Carrie Muskat


I was born in Keokuk, Ia. and raised in Hamilton, Il. right across the Mississippi River from Keokuk. Too many Cardinal fans there for Lily to make a start😉 I look forward to seeing him in Wrigley! Go Cubs!


Why did Lou Pinella mention Keokuk, IA when discussing where Lilly could be on Opening Day? Did he mean Des Moines, IA with the Iowa Cubs? I grew up just across the Mississippi River from Keokuk, and am curious if there is something planned there in the near future? I realize he was joking, but not sure why he would have even heard of Keokuk…

Lou is pretty worldly. He was joking. There is no hidden message — he just threw Keokuk out there.

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