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Cubs’ Lilly impressive in return from disabled list

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Ted Lilly was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday afternoon and tossed six scoreless innings against the division rival Cubs. He should help revitalize a Chicago rotation that has lost a bit of its identity since the demotion of Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen.

Lilly went 12-9 with a career-best 3.10 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP last season for the Cubs and was even named to the All-Star game mid-summer. He’s getting a late start this year due to back and shoulder issues that killed his ability to get ready during spring training.

In a corresponding move, reliever Jeff Samardzija was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. He has been awful this year on the big league level and the Cubs are hoping some appearances against lesser competition will boost his confidence. The club is also considering grooming him as a starter while he is down in the minor league ranks.