Left-hander Ted Lilly is expected to decide in the next few weeks whether to retire or try to pitch again following a recent neck operation to relieve pressure on his spine.
Agent Larry O’Brien said Wednesday that Lilly had yet to make a final decision regarding his baseball future and would return from playing winter ball, then sit down and ponder what’s next.
”We have not confirmed anything yet about his retiring and we won’t be able to for a couple of weeks,” O’Brien said while noting the speculation that Lilly’s career is over. ”He’s going to come home and re-evaluate.”
The lefty, who turns 38 in January, was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 25. He was limited to 13 starts the past two seasons for Los Angeles because of injury problems, going 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in five 2013 starts.
After seeing a spine specialist this fall in Los Angeles and undergoing surgery to cauterize the nerve endings in the right side of his neck, O’Brien said his client experienced ”some issues” while pitching at winter ball in Venezuela.
”They were locking up every time he threw and the next day he couldn’t move his neck,” O’Brien said.
A two-time All-Star, Lilly – full name Theodore Roosevelt Lilly – is 130-113 with a 4.14 ERA in parts of 15 major league seasons with 331 starts and 356 total appearances. He pitched for Montreal, Oakland, Toronto, the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Dodgers.
The San Francisco Giants considered signing Lilly to a minor league contract in early August but assistant general manager Bobby Evans said ”upon reviewing Ted Lilly’s medical history” they would hold off on the acquisition.
Lilly was a 23rd-round draft pick by the Dodgers in 1996.
The Venezuelan El Universal newspaper reported that Lilly had made his decision to retire.