Lilly won't make Cactus League start

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It appears Chicago Cubs starter Ted Lilly will not pitch in a Cactus League game this spring, despite originally being scheduled to start a game next week.

Lilly is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Lilly will throw in minor-league games starting on March 27. With Cactus League starters progressing to five and six innings, the team felt it would be better to have Lilly start a minor league game, rather than be the second or third pitcher late in a Cactus League game.

Piniella said Lilly -- like all pitchers in spring training -- will start by pitching two innings and work his way up.

The Cubs are hoping that without any setbacks, Lilly will join them in the second half of April.

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com.