Lilly, Ward Signings Made Official

The Chicago Cubs today announced that the club has agreed to a four-year deal with free agent left-handed pitcher Ted Lilly.

Lilly, 30, won a career-best 15 games last season with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was 15-13 with a 4.31 ERA (87 ER/181.2 IP) in 32 starts, which tied his career high (also done with Toronto in 2004). The southpaw struck out 160 batters, just eight shy of his career high reached in 2004, while limiting left-handed hitters to a .202 batting average.

He won three straight starts on two occasions in 2006, posting a 1.50 ERA (3 ER/18.0 IP) in three outings from June 15-28. He produced another three-game winning streak from September 6-16 and finished the month 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA (10 ER/36.2 IP) in six starts, limiting hitters to a .206 batting average.

Lilly ranked seventh in the AL with 7.93 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched last season. It marked the third time in which he was in the top-10 in that category, as he was 10th with 7.66 strikeouts per 9.0 innings in 2004 and was eighth with a 7.42 mark in 2003.

Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 23rd round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft, Lilly has compiled a 59-58 record with a 4.60 ERA (478 ER/936.0 IP) in 185 career games (160 starts) with Montreal (1999), New York-AL (2000-2002), Oakland (2002-2003) and Toronto (2004-2006).

A native of Torrance, Calif., Lilly has tossed 6.0 or more innings in 84 starts, going 49-19 with a 2.59 ERA (162 ER/562.0 IP) while limiting hitters to a .205 batting average in those outings.

Lilly made his Major League debut with Montreal in 1999 after he was part of a seven-player deal between the Dodgers and Expos on July 31, 1998. Prior to the 2000 season, Lilly was sent to the Yankees to complete an earlier trade which sent pitcher Hideki Irabu to Montreal. He went 8-12 with a 4.65 ERA (106 ER/205.1 IP) in 49 games (32 starts) with the Yankees before he was acquired by Oakland in a three-team, seven-player trade on July 6, 2002.

Lilly made a total of four postseason appearances with Oakland in 2002 and 2003 before he was traded to Toronto in exchange for outfielder Bobby Kielty in November of 2003. In three seasons with the Blue Jays, Lilly went 37-34 with a 4.52 ERA (254 ER/505.1 IP) in 89 starts.

***

Daryle Ward
The Chicago Cubs and free agent first baseman and outfielder Daryle Ward today agreed to a one-year deal with a mutual option for the 2008 season.

Ward, a 31-year-old left-handed hitter, led Major League pinch-hitters with 17 RBI and a .645 slugging percentage in 2006 while his four pinch homers were tied with Cincinnati's Javier Valentin for the most in baseball. He was tied for second with a .440 on-base percentage as a pinch-hitter while his .355 batting average (22-for-62) in a pinch role was fourth in baseball.

Overall, Ward batted .308 (40-for-130) last season in 98 combined games between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves. He hit .371 (13-for-35) with runners in scoring position, and that average increased to .412 (7-for-17) with runners in scoring position and two outs. Ward hit .377 (29-for-77) with six of his seven homers coming in the seventh inning or later.

Ward was hitting .308 (32-for-104) in 78 games for the Nationals last season when he was traded to Atlanta on August 31 in exchange for right-handed pitcher Luis Atilano. Ward went on to bat .308 (8-for-26) in 20 appearances for the Braves.

Originally selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round of the 1994 First-Year Player Draft, Ward's nine career pinch home runs rank tied for seventh among active Major Leaguers while his 61 career pinch-hits ranks eighth. He owns a .262 career batting average (530-for-2,022) with 83 home runs and 343 RBI in nine seasons with the Astros (1998-2002), Dodgers (2003), Pirates (2004-2005), Nationals (2006) and Braves (2006).

Ward, who appeared in the NL Division Series with Houston in 1999 and 2001, has a .993 career fielding percentage (13 E/1,826 TC) in 241 games at first base, and has also seen time in left field (238 games) and right field (41 games). In 2002, he recorded nine of his 13 career outfield assists while patrolling left field for Houston.

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