Ted Lilly to open season on DL

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly will begin the regular season on the 15-day disabled list as a result of neck stiffness that knocked him out of his most recent Cactus League start, manager Don Mattingly said after Friday's split-squad, 9-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Lilly threw in the bullpen before the game, the first time he had gotten on a mound since his most recent scheduled start on Tuesday. Afterward, he reported feeling much better, but he also seemed at least somewhat resigned to spending at least the first few days of the season on the DL.

"I know I'm a little behind from having missed a couple of starts,'' said Lilly, who hasn't pitched in the Cactus League since March 16.

"At some point, it's up to them to make a decision. Whatever is best for our club is what I'm on board for. That is why I'm here, to help us win.''

The move will be backdated to Monday, meaning Lilly will be eligible for activation on April 10. But Mattingly said Lilly won't come off the DL until April 14, when he tentatively is scheduled to pitch against the Padres at Dodger Stadium in the Dodgers' ninth game of the season.

With an off day on April 9, that will allow the Dodgers to go through their other four starters twice before Lilly pitches, with fifth starter Chris Capuano taking Lilly's third spot in the rotation.

In the interim, Lilly will pitch a simulated game on Monday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim before that night's Dodgers-Angels exhibition. If that goes well, Lilly will pitch in a minor league rehabilitation game on April 8 for advanced Class A Rancho Cucamonga against Inland Empire. Those two games should position Lilly to pitch in a major league game.

The Dodgers will use the days before Lilly's activation as a chance to carry an extra reliever, presumably right-hander Josh Lindblom.

Lilly had been penciled in for the third game of the season, on April 7, at San Diego.

"We talked about it, and we just don't feel like (Lilly) is going to be ready,'' Mattingly said. "If it was an emergency ... he could take the ball for that start, but that really isn't what we want to do.''