Dodgers’ Ted Lilly unsure about starting season on disabled list

Ted Lilly could wind up starting his season on the disabled list for the Dodgers as the team tries to free up roster space.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

PEORIA, Ariz. – Asked by Manager Don Mattingly on Wednesday if he would consider starting the season on the disabled list, Ted Lilly said he has some thinking to do.

“I’m not really sure,” Lilly said.

The Dodgers have 13 pitchers with guaranteed contracts, but Mattingly said he doesn’t want to carry more than 12 on the opening-day roster. Placing Lilly on the disabled list would clear a roster spot.

Chad Billingsley could be placed on the disabled list retroactively to March 22. If he is, he would probably be activated about a week into the season, making it a very short-term solution.


Roster space could also be created by trading Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang.

Lilly has said he would accept a relief role, something Capuano and Harang have been noncommittal about.

“I’d like to pitch for the Dodgers,” said Lilly, who is owed $12 million this year.

Lilly last pitched in relief in 2003 and is coming off shoulder surgery. His spring throwing program was disrupted by illness and bad weather.

“I don’t think we feel like he’s ready to start the season,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly pointed to how Lilly appeared to suddenly run out of gas in the third inning of his relief appearance Wednesday. Lilly was charged with six runs that inning.

“As everybody out there witnessed, I have to be sharper,” Lilly said. “I feel it’s there.”

In all, Lilly gave up seven runs and six hits in 2 1/3 innings.

“I felt good,” Lilly said. “I felt a lot better than the results. If I’m going to be successful, I’m going to have to locate the baseball. That doesn’t change.”


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