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Ted Lilly, Soon To Return To A Ballpark Near You: Cubs vs. Astros Preview, Saturday 4/17, 12:05 CT

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If you're in or near the Peoria area, you can see Ted Lilly's second rehab start on Monday, when he faces Burlington, a Royals affiliate. And then, Bruce Miles tells us:

"We're going to let him go 75 to 80 pitches and if he's fine after that one, we'll get him back in the rotation either over the weekend in Milwaukee or as soon as we get back here at home (against Washington)," [manager Lou] Piniella said.

Lilly's return will likely mean a shift to the bullpen for either Carlos Silva or Tom Gorzelanny, the latter of whom starts today against Houston. Piniella said Silva and Gorzelanny will each get another start next week against the Mets in New York.

If Gorzelanny throws well today and against the Mets, and Silva has another solid start, this will be a good problem to have. Me, I think I'd put Gorz in the pen; he seems better suited to bullpen duty and that would give the Cubs another lefthanded relief arm who can pitch multiple innings in addition to Sean Marshall. If Lilly is on target for a rotation return after Monday's start, he could go as soon as next Saturday in Milwaukee.

Don't forget the early (12:05 CDT) start today; this is one of seven early Saturday home game starts for the Cubs this year. Unlike past years, these early starts will be available on MLB Extra Innings as well as MLB.TV, for those of you who subscribe to those services.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Tom Gorzelanny
Tom Gorzelanny
Cubs
vs. Roy Oswalt
Roy Oswalt
Astros
0-0 W-L 0-2
0.00 ERA 3.75
7 SO 11
2 BB 4
0 HR 1
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Tom Gorzelanny 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.1 4 1 0 0 2 7 0.00 .95


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Roy Oswalt 0-2 2 2 0 0 0 0 12.0 12 5 5 1 4 11 3.75 1.33

Roy Oswalt has made 29 starts against the Cubs; his 13-12, 3.81 mark is a bit worse than his career W-L record and ERA. He was 1-1, 3.32 in four starts vs. the Cubs last year. Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee, as you might expect, have faced him most; A-Ram is 16-for-67 (.239) with three doubles and four HR. D-Lee is 16-for-58 (.276), with four doubles and three HR.

Tom Gorzelanny had a good spring and a good first start of 2010 -- so let's hope he builds on that today. Lifetime vs. Houston in seven appearances (six starts), he's been pretty bad -- 1-4, 5.01 with a ton of walks. He has not faced any current Astro more than eight AB (Jeff Keppinger, 2-for-8), and Carlos Lee is 3-for-7 with a HR.

Cable-only again: CSN Chicago and FSN Houston. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Astros site The Crawfish Boxes.

With the earlier start, this afternoon's first pitch thread will be up at 12 noon CDT, and the overflows will post at 1, 2 and 2:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.