Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Former Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Ted Lilly to retire


Former Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly will retire from baseball, according to a Spanish-language article by Andreina Salas Guzmán of El Universal.

MLB Trade Rumors translated the article here.

“My body in general is telling me that I can’t take any more,” Lilly told Guzman. “I feel like I don’t have the ability to continue at the Major League level.”

Lilly, 37, recently had nerve endings in the right side of his neck cauterized in an attempt to alleviate neck pain that had been hampering his ability to pitch. That procedure seems to have been effective, as he told Guzman his neck feels ok, but he’s far from pain free: “It’s principally the pain in my back and shoulder. I’m having problems there. I feel like I can’t return to being the pitcher I was a few years ago.”

Lilly told Guzman that he’s disappointed and feels “awful,” as he never expected to be forced into retirement when initially traveling to Venezuela for winter ball. He looks back on his first two years with the Cubs fondly, noting that he pitched well and was on a good team in a “great city,” calling those seasons the best of his career.

The Cubs acquired Lilly after the 2006 season and he went 15-8 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, one of his best years, in 2007. On June 10 against the Atlanta Braves, Lilly hit Edgar Renteria with a pitch in the first inning and was ejected. The Cubs lost the game but his actions cemented him as a leader in the clubhouse.

In 2008, he went 17-9 during the Cubs’ 97-win season and made a lasting footprint in the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry on Sept. 10 in St. Louis when he bowled over catcher Yadi Molina. While Lilly was called out on the play the Cubs hung on for the win.

On June 13, 2010, four days after the Chicago Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup, the entire Blackhawks team paraded the Cup around Wrigley Field during the Crosstown Classic. Lilly took a no-hitter into the ninth inning, only to have it broken up by a single from former Cub outfielder Juan Pierre.

In July of 2010, Lilly was traded with infielder Ryan Theriot to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Blake DeWitt, Brett Wallach, and Kyle Smit. He had a year and a half of solid pitching for the Dodgers, and then two years suffered by injury.

In 15 career seasons, Lilly finished with a 130-113 record, a 4.14 ERA, and 1,681 strikeouts in 1982 2/3 innings in the Majors. He spent parts of 15 seasons with the Montreal Expos, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Cubs, and Dodgers. The left-hander originally was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 23rd round of the 1996 Amateur Draft.

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