FRIDAY, 3:26pm: Lilly's agent Larry O'Brien confirmed to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter) that his client is retiring.
WEDNESDAY: 1:23pm: Left-hander Ted Lilly's comeback attempt has stalled due to persistent shoulder and back pain, and the 15-year veteran is set to announce his retirement from professional baseball, he told Andreina Salas Guzman Venezuelan news outlet El Universal (Spanish link).
"My body in general is telling me that I can't take any more," Lilly told Guzman. "I feel like I don't have the ability to continue at the Major League level."
Lilly, 37, recently had nerve endings in the right side of his neck cauterized in an attempt to alleviate neck pain that had been hampering his ability to pitch. That procedure seems to have been effective, as he told Guzman his neck feels ok, but he's far from pain free: "It's principally the pain in my back and shoulder. I'm having problems there. I feel like I can't return to being the pitcher I was a few years ago."
Lilly told Guzman that he's disappointed and feels "awful," as he never expected to be forced into retirement when initially traveling to Venezuela for winter ball. He looks back on his first two years with the Cubs fondly, noting that he pitched well and was on a good team in a "great city," calling those seasons the best of his career. Though he tells Guzman that he enjoys teaching baseball and won't rule out coaching in the future, his immediate plans are to spend time with his family, and he won't be seeking a coaching job anytime soon.
Lilly's career will come to a close with a 130-113 record, a 4.14 ERA and 1,681 strikeouts in 1982 2/3 innings of Major League action. Originally a 23rd-round pick of the Dodgers back in 1996, Lilly spent parts of 15 seasons with the Expos, Yankees, Athletics, Blue Jays, Cubs and Dodgers. He earned more than $80MM over the course of his big league career, according to Baseball Reference. Congratulations on an impressive career, and best of luck in life after baseball, Ted.
Thanks to MLBTR's Nick Collias for the translation of Guzman's article.