CHICAGO -- There are reports that Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly could be dealt prior to his next start Tuesday against the Houston Astros, but Saturday was business as usual for the left-hander, who did his side session at Wrigley Field.
The Chicago Sun-Times quoted unnamed "Major League sources" as saying Lilly could be moved before Tuesday to one of the teams in search of pitching for the postseason run. However, team officials said on Saturday nothing is imminent.
The Cubs pulled within nine games of St. Louis in the National League Central on Saturday with a 6-5 win over the Cardinals. The Trade Deadline is one week away. What would manager Lou Piniella tell general manager Jim Hendry if he asked whether to move a player, such as Lilly?
"That's going to be Jim's call," Piniella said on Saturday. "My response would be, let's give this a longer period of time. Nine games is a lot, but it's not that much. You can't make it up in a week or 10 days, but over a period of time, picking up a game here, a game there, you'd be surprised. You can be in a pennant race playing good baseball by the middle of August. That's what our thoughts are, and we'll see what happens."
Lilly (3-8, 3.88 ERA) is a free agent after this season and has a partial no-trade clause. He leads the Major Leagues in least amount of run support and is 0-2 in four July starts with a 6.57 ERA.
A Major League scout who watched Carlos Zambrano in his first outing at Triple-A Iowa on Thursday was quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying the pitcher looked like a "middle reliever." It was only Zambrano's second game action since June 25, his last game with the Cubs before being placed on the restricted list.
Zambrano (3-6, 5.66 ERA) is not expected to rejoin the Cubs until the team is in Colorado July 30.