The reigning German champion Heidenheim Heidekoepfe announced on Wednesday that shortstop Ryan Lilly has ended his playing career. He took a job as marketing assistant with the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. The 26-year-old Lilly was born in Tucson, Arizona, attended Central Arizona Junior College and the University of San Diego before being signed by the Chicago Cubs as an undrafted free agent. He stayed two years in the organization before a shoulder injury ended his professional career.
The past two years Lilly was playing and coaching for the Heidekoepfe in Germany. In 50 games through two seasons he was batting .392 (OBP .500/SLG .653) with ten homeruns, three triples, 16 doubles, 70 runs scored, 54 RBI and 38 stolen bases. He was named best batter in the southern division in 2008 and received the MVP award in the 2009 finals against the Mannheim Tornados. Heidenheim is going to replace him with another American shortstop.
The club also revealed that the two former big leaguers, head coach Mike Hartley and starting pitcher Dusty Bergman, will return for the 2010 season. For Hartley it will be the third straight year in the Baseball-Bundesliga. Bergman came to Europe last winter. The 31-year-old left-hander had a perfect 8-0 record with an ERA of 1.96 in eleven starts. He struck out 67 batters in 73 1/3 innings, walking 20.