Trade-bait Lilly awaits his fate

HOUSTON -- Ted Lilly’s latest outing against Houston may have been his last as a Cub, something the veteran lefthander understands only too well.

Lilly was asked if he’s been hearing all the trade rumors.

“Maybe, that’s what I’ve been hearing and reading, so we’ll see,” Lilly said.

On Tuesday evening, Lilly was slowed by the after-affects of flu-like symptoms over the weekend but was able to battle through 113 pitches in his 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.

Many big league scouts were on hand to report back on Lilly to their general managers as the trading deadine approaches on Saturday. Lilly has told the Cubs he’d like to stay, however it appears by this weekend’s deadline for non-waiver trades that he’ll be wearing another uniform.

“That’s how it goes,” Lilly said. “I’ve said what I want [to say] before. There’s a lot of things I don’t get a final say in. That’s the way it is.”

Lilly has a limited no-trade clause to eight teams. Sources tell ESPNChicago.com that the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers are two teams in hot pursuit of the Cubs starter. The Detroit Tigers and the New York Mets are also interested.

Lilly was asked if he’d consider coming back with the Cubs as a free agent if he’s dealt to another team.

“I don’t know,” Lilly said. “Where are we, late July? Those kind of things are a ways away. It’s evident I’d prefer to stay here for the future. However, you get the opportunity to become a free agent and those don’t come around too often.”

--RHP Andrew Cashner, who took the loss on Tuesday night, had a seventh inning from hell, walking two batters, hitting two batters, messing up a fielding play on a squeeze bunt, and topping it off by giving up a grand slam to Lance Berkman. The rookie from nearby Montgomery, TX was searching to find some perspective after the game.

“I just didn’t execute my pitches tonight,” Cashner said. “It started with [Humberto] Quintero. I had him 0-2 and couldn’t put him away. I hit him. It just kind of snowballed from there. On the squeeze, I should not have gone home, I should have just taken the out at first base.”

Manager Lou Piniella called the day part of the maturation for the young pitcher.

“If we get Quintero out, they’re going to pinch hit for [pitcher Brett] Myers,” Piniella said. “He’s out of the ballgame. Hitting the hitter, Myers stays in to complete the game.”

--Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin hit his 16th home run in the ninth inning off of Myers. He now leads all rookies in the majors in home runs. Colvin has hit four home runs in his last eight games.