Is Lilly on the move again?

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

Ted Lilly's next scheduled start for the Blue Jays is Saturday at RFK Stadium in Washington against the Nationals.

After that, who knows?

The ivory hunters are out.

There has been recent talk about the Blue Jays making relievers Miguel Batista and Scott Schoeneweis available for trade.

Both have started in the past and could be returned to a starter's role in quick order.

The gallery at Rogers Centre, eight rows behind home plate, was impressed with the elevation of Lilly's pitches, his mechanics, his velocity (94 m.p.h) and his results Monday as he worked seven innings in an 11-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Lilly, who recorded 10 strikeouts, walked two and allowed two runs, turned in his second-best start of 2005, not long after his best outing of the year when he allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings as he beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2.

Lilly, 29, has been dealt four times. The pursuers this time are not area scouts.

All four are special assistants to their respective general managers:

- Bill Lajoie of the Boston Red Sox is GM Theo Epstien's left arm. Lajoie is sporting his 2004 World Series ring and, like everyone else, looking for another.

The Sox, who sat two games behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles entering last night's play, are looking for help to return to the post-season.

SIMULATED GAME

While the Sox await the return of Curt Schilling, out with an ankle injury, they are going with a rotation of Matt Clement, David Wells, Tim Wakefield, Bronson Arroyo and Wade Miller.

Schilling threw a simulated game Monday in Cleveland, throwing 65 pitches.

- Jim Fregosi of the Atlanta Braves.

Fregosi, the right arm of GM John Schuerholz, has seen Lilly's back-to-back, quality starts.

The Braves have the greatest need with three starters on the disabled list: Tim Hudson (oblique muscle strain), Mike Hampton (left forearm) and John Thomson (left foot).

- Bill Scherrer of the Chicago White Sox, a top aide de camp for GM Kenny Williams, in the running for executive of the year.

The Sox went into play last night eight games ahead of the second-place Minnesota Twins.

The Sox are solid at the top with Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, Freddie Garcia, Jose Contreras and Brandon McCarthy, who is filling in for Orlando Hernandez.

- Larry Corrigan of the Minnesota Twins, who works hand-in-hand with Twins boss Terry Ryan.

Even the small-market Twins could handle paying half of what remains on Lilly's $3.1-million US salary for 2005.

The Twins have Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Kyle Lohse, Joe Mays and Carlos Silva.

While there wasn't anything to not like about Lilly's performance on Monday, there is plenty to worry about concerning his numbers. The consistency, which helped propel Lilly to the all-star game in Houston a year ago, has not been there.

Lilly is 5-7 with a 6.08 earned-run average. He has walked 31 and struck out 57 in 71 innings and has allowed 111 base-runners.

He was dealt in 1998 by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Montreal Expos as part of a seven-player deal which featured Carlos Perez and Mark Grudzielanek.

The Expos sent him to the Yankees to complete a deal for Hideki Irabu in 2000.

The Yanks then dealt him to the Oakland A's in 2002 for minor-leaguers Jason Arnold and John-Ford Griffin.

And the Jays acquired Lilly for outfielder Bobby Kielty at the end of the 2003 season.

What does it say about the Jays that they are thinking about moving their second best -- okay, maybe that's Gustavo Chacin -- starter?

It says wait until next season.


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