Dodgers Face Decision On Ted Lilly

5:55pm: Lilly has agreed to make another minor league rehab start, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Presumably, this will buy the Dodgers a bit of time to make a decision, but the clock is still ticking.

7:44am: The Dodgers are at a standoff with lefty Ted Lilly after the 14-year veteran refused a minor league assignment Saturday, reported's Ken Gurnick yesterday.  The team must activate him, designate him for assignment, release him, or trade him.

"We laid out a plan and Teddy doesn't want to be part of the plan. It's out of my hands. We didn't feel he was ready to pitch at the Major League level. For me, it's a baseball decision. It's nothing personal in any way, shape or form. We're giving him our baseball thoughts, what we think is best for him and the team," manager Don Mattingly told Gurnick.

Mattingly did say using Lilly in relief is a possibility, though the team (and perhaps the pitcher) is not enamored of the idea.

Lilly began the 2012 season on the disabled list with a neck injury, and in May hit the DL again with shoulder inflammation.  That ended his season, and he had shoulder surgery in September.  Still recovering, he began this year on the DL as well.  He's made two minor league rehab starts, allowing five earned runs in six innings in each.  The Dodgers recently moved Chris Capuano to their rotation to replace the injured Zack Greinke.

The Dodgers created a rotation surplus this winter in signing Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but they received little for Aaron Harang earlier this month and Lilly has been similarly devalued.  Lilly is earning $12MM this year, so the Dodgers would again have to pick up a significant portion to move him.  They could certainly buy some time by sticking him in the bullpen, though doing so repeatedly with veteran starters is not a great way to do business.  In the long-term, this Harang/Capuano/Lilly situation could dissuade some mid-level players from signing with the Dodgers.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

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