Chad Billingsley #58 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on April 10, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Chad Billingsley threw a 30-pitch simulated game Thursday at Dodger Stadium in another step forward in the recovery from Tommy John surgery he had last year.
“It definitely felt good to be out there,” Billingsley said after the session, in which he faced teammates Chone Figgins and Jamie Romak.
The right-hander said he threw his entire repertoire of pitches at max intensity and, despite some rust, his arm felt good.
“Mechanically, it’s the first I’ve seen hitters and my timing was a bit off, but that’s to be expected,” he said.
Billingsley’s been on a throwing program since he received a platelet-rich plasma injection April 23, after an MRI showed he had tendinitis in his right elbow.
Manager Don Mattingly is satisfied with what he saw from the Ohio native Wednesday.
“We’ll see how he bounces back and (team doctors) will decide if it’s another simulation game or we move on to the next step,” he said. That next step being a minor league start.
Mattingly didn’t want to talk about whether a relief role for Billingsley has been discussed to ease him back into the starting rotation once he returns to the big league club, saying the 29 year old is too far from a comeback to get into any pitching scenarios right now.
However, Billingsley made it clear that he’s not entertaining the thought of a bullpen assignment.
“I’m preparing to start right now,” he said. “If they had some other thing planned, why would I be throwing multiple innings? So, my mindset is I’m preparing to start.”
Billingsley said watching Josh Beckett throw a no-hitter and Hyun-Jin Ryu take a perfect game into the eighth inning the next day has given him extra motivation.
“It definitely makes you want to...go out there and compete and win ball games,” he said. “For 13 months (I’ve) just been sitting back and watching, which is tough.”
Billingsley last pitched in a major league game April 10. He went six innings and didn't factor in the decision in a 6-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.
In his eight-year career, the righty is 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA in 1175 ⅓ innings.