Now the story can be told, and only because of a freak injury to a Cubs player last night following the Opening Day 1-0 loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
Last month, Ted Lilly was hired as a special assistant to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Or, at least, that was the cover story.
After puttering around Mesa for a couple of days to make his hiring look good and throw reporters off the trail, Lilly headed to Chicago for intensive workouts with Kerry Wood. They worked out at Northwestern, whose agreement with the Cubs provides that the Cubs have access to Northwestern's athletic facilities. Working out after midnight so as not to be under the prying eyes of NU students, Wood helped get Ted into playing shape, after Ted's back issues miraculously disappeared. In addition, another former Cubs pal, Ryan Dempster, helped Ted out by allowing Lilly to stay at his Chicago home while Ted tries to buy back his old house at 1305 W. Waveland, so he can walk to the ballpark.
The Cubs brass secretly told Ted to be ready to be activated on a moment's notice in case there was an unforeseen injury, and, just one day into the season, that has happened.
Several Cubs went out to dinner Monday night in Pittsburgh after the Opening Day game, and lefthander James Russell accidentally got his hair caught in a revolving door. The resulting yank on the lefty's long mane caused a neck injury. Russell has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, and Ted will fly to Pittsburgh today to join the team, and be in the bullpen for tomorrow night's contest.
Mike Olt, who had been issued Ted's old No. 30, readily relinquished it... just from a look in Ted's eyes.
Manager Rick Renteria said that Ted will be used in situations where Russell would have been used, and Lilly, who turned 38 in January, added that he felt he'd be more useful to the team as a reliever, to be sprung on unsuspecting opponents at the most opportune times.
If you're excited about this and are ready to welcome Ted Lilly back to the active roster, I suggest you take a look at the calendar and remember what today is.