Cubs, Lilly aim for late-April return

Chicago Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly said Thursday the next step in his rehab will be one more start in the minors.

Lilly will start on Monday in Peoria, Ill. for the Single-A Chiefs. If he throws without mishap, he's on target to pitch next weekend against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Lilly's preference was to pitch in the majors his next time out, but he was convinced by Cubs management that this was the more prudent approach.

Lilly threw 51 pitches in a rehab start in Iowa on Wednesday. He went four innings and was held back from throwing 60-plus pitches to protect him from any recurring back issues. According to major league rules, Lilly can end his rehab any time he chooses by telling the Cubs he is ready to pitch.

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com.