There is no context given as to what "ready" means. Ready to pitch in a real live game against real live opponents in the regular season? Ready to start throwing and getting back into game shape and maybe rejoining the rotation around June? Ready to have a second procedure that will force him to miss the entire season? It's hard to say.
The definition of "ready" is nearly as important to the Cubs season as the performance of Dr. Lewis Yocum during the procedure itself. My guess is somewhere in the middle. I doubt the surgery is career threatening, but you never know with shoulders. I'm not expecting to see Ted in a game that matters until about Memorial Day. Anything before that is a bonus.
Of course, anytime Cubs fans hear about surgery for their pitchers, the looming spectre of Mark Prior and his towel drill haunts our sleep and causes us to wake up in a cold sweat.
Personally, I'm going to try to believe that his surgery will actually tighten the muscles in his arm to such an extent that he will be able to sling a ball with such velocity that no hitter will be able to touch him, and thus lead a rag-tag bunch of underachievers and their long-suffering fans to World Series immortality. I'm looking to turn this idea into a movie.
Of course, I may still just be delirious with fever.
Bruce Levine re-iterates the original report by the Chicago Tribune, but adds this nugget to give a little context to what "ready" means:
"The Cubs sources also said Lilly is projected at this point to be back in the rotation in April."
This may finally be the good news he promised us about a week ago.