Ted Lilly's optimism for an on-time start to his season took a jolt this week when he lost five days of rehab and conditioning because of a flu-like virus.
Lilly, already behind other pitchers in camp because of rehab for minor shoulder surgery in early November, returned to Cubs camp Friday and threw lightly but was still not back up to his strength level of last weekend.
``This is definitely a setback,'' said Lilly, the 2009 All-Star who was trying to beat the team-estimated timeline for a return of two to four weeks into the season.
``I lost, due to this, valuable time in spring training. I needed this time,'' he said. ``I'm behind now as far as training goes. I haven't really been on my feet much at all in the past five days. Being out the four or five days that I've been out, it's going to cost me more [rehab time] than that. ... I guess in one regard it's fortunate it's not my shoulder or anything like that.''
Lilly, who leads the Cubs staff with 44 wins the past three seasons, said he'd still like to work his way back to the mound in time to avoid the Opening Day DL but didn't sound very confident about it.
``I don't know,'' he said. ``I'm just going to get back as soon as I can. I don't want to start the season on the disabled list. I don't feel good about that. I don't like being on that list or associated with it in any way, shape or form.
``I'll work to get back out there pitching as soon as possible.''