"Basically, what he said is, you've got to be able to judge what you can tolerate and what you can't. He didn't feel, at this point, that it would be foolish to go out and try to continue."
Lilly hasn't pitched since July 24, and it's his second arm-related stint on the disabled list this season. A case of tendinitis in his shoulder delayed the start of his year and sapped his efficiency when he finally made it back. In several respects, it's been a lost season for the 2004 All-Star, but Lilly's pleased to finally have some resolution.
"I kind of had mixed feelings. I was a little unsure," he said of his mind-set before Yocum's diagnosis. "There were times where I'd feel OK, and there were times where I'd go out and play catch and feel like I could be damaging it further. I didn't want to do that. So from this point, I'm going to go as long as I can and try to come back as soon as possible."
That sounds simply put -- but the reality is a little more complex. With the nature of the tests he took, Lilly has to wait a day or two before he can throw again. And when he does, he'll have to throw from flat ground before he can progress to mound work.
After that, the southpaw can consider a few alternate paths. He can pitch a few simulated games and return straight to big league action or he can try a Minor League rehab stint. The only issue in that last option is timing.
"They've got two weeks left down there," said Toronto manager John Gibbons, speaking of the Triple-A schedule. "Hopefully, and I'm just guessing right now, [he'll go in] a week to 10 days. He'd be ready for it -- at least do one start. They probably go a couple days into September."
"I don't know. I'd like to get ready for a rehab start, if I have that option," said Lilly. "It's a short window, but I'd like to, ideally. I'm not sure that's going to work out."
Forewarned for arms:
As reported several times before, contingency plans Dustin McGowan and Scott Downs will be the arms most affected when Lilly and Roy Halladay return from the disabled list. Gibbons addressed that fact again on Tuesday, and he said the Jays have seen everything they need to see.
"We know where we're at. When the time comes, we'll decide," he said. "We're not going to put McGowan in the 'pen. If he's going to pitch, he's going to pitch steady work. ... The more he's around it, the better."
With that last comment, Gibbons meant big league exposure. The prevailing wisdom was always that McGowan would move down to Triple-A Syracuse and return when rosters expand in September. Now, two weeks from the start of the season's final month, it looks like McGowan may be in the rotation until both Lilly and Halladay return.
"Downs would be very valuable down there for us," said Gibbons, speaking of the bullpen. "Early on, he was pitching sporadically. He was pitching like [Brandon] League is right now. He'd go a long time between appearances, than he'd go two or three in a short time.
"The next thing you know, it's 10 more days. [Starting] allows him to stretch out a little bit and face more hitters."
Gibbons briefly addressed September callups and mentioned one of the newest players in the organization. The Jays signed veteran Desi Relaford to a Minor League contract on Saturday, and he's been at Triple-A Syracuse ever since.
"We've talked about it, but I don't how many," said Gibbons, talking specifically about callups. "You know we're going to need a third catcher, and probably a couple guys that have been here at some time during the year."
That list would seem to include Guillermo Quiroz, Toronto's top catching prospect. It could also mean a return to the big leagues for Gabe Gross and Chad Gaudin.
Relaford, who played most recently with Colorado, is a very similar player to Frank Menechino. Both play several infield positions and can shock you with some power.
"Desi's a faster guy," said Gibbons, underlining the differences. "He plays infield and outfield -- switch-hitter."
"We don't have Oakland anymore, but we've got anyone else. ... Bottom line is you've got to play good baseball or you've got no chance at all." -- Gibbons, talking about Toronto's remaining schedule and chances of winning the AL Wild Card slot
The Blue Jays and Angels will play their series finale on Wednesday night, with Toronto's Josh Towers matched up against Jarrod Washburn. The Jays beat Washburn twice last year, but they haven't faced him in 2005.