Notes: Lilly to miss first turn in rotation
Team doesn't want to rush left-hander back to action
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The decision was made and the opinion noted. Ted Lilly's last-minute appeal was denied on Monday when the Blue Jays announced their starting rotation for the first six games of the regular season.Lilly, battling back from shoulder tendinitis, will be on the disabled list when the regular season begins. If all goes according to plan, he'll be activated to start the sixth game of the season. That means the earliest Lilly will debut is April 10, a full five days after he wanted to pitch. "It makes perfect sense not to rush him, because he's got the whole year ahead of him," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "I know he wants to go that second day in Tampa Bay, but we decided this was better for him." The left-hander knew about the move on Monday morning, but he spent another 20 minutes discussing alternatives. When he emerged from the manager's office, he told the media he understood the decision and was prepared to play it out. "I'm walking out of there believing that what we're doing is best for everyone," said Lilly. "I can see where they're coming from and I think they can understand where I'm coming from. ...Unfortunately, if I look at it, I'm the one who came to Spring Training at less than 100 percent in the first place. "I definitely believe that if I showed up here without anything going on, I'd be ready to pitch. I put myself in this predicament to begin with." Last year, Lilly spent most of Spring Training battling the effects of a sprained wrist. This year, he came to Dunedin with a sore shoulder and wasn't able to throw from the mound until last week. He still hasn't faced live batters, and he won't do that until Wednesday, when he pitches in a simulated game. After that, the Jays will let Lilly pitch in two minor league spring games, incrementally building up his pitch count. When the season starts, Lilly will stay in Dunedin to throw a game in extended Spring Training. Finally, barring any setbacks, he'll start the finale of Toronto's first home series, slotted between Roy Halladay and Gustavo Chacin. "They've been doing this a long time -- longer than I have," Lilly said. "In the big picture, this is probably the best thing, even though it's difficult. In the back of my mind, I think I'm capable of going out there on [April] 5th -- but that might not be the best thing." Rotation: Halladay is set to start on Opening Day against Tampa Bay, but the Jays threw a couple changeups into the mix after him. Chacin will start the second game, and he will be followed by Josh Towers. That leaves Dave Bush for the home opener in Toronto, followed by Halladay and Lilly.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.