Ted Lilly threw off a mound on Friday for the first time in nine days, and reported improvement in his stiff neck. But the left-hander is too far behind schedule to be ready for opening day, and will begin the season on the disabled list.
"We just don't feel like he's going to be ready," said manager Don Mattingly. "If it was an emergency or something and we had to push to get him ready for this start, he could take the ball. But that's not really what we want for his first start."
Lilly last pitched on March 21, in a minor league game against the Cleveland Indians Class A team. Mattingly said the plan is for Lilly to pitch a simulated game on April 2 in Anaheim, then pitch in a rehab game with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on April 8.
If all goes as planned, Lilly will make his first regular season start on April 14 at Dodger Stadium against the San Diego Padres. Chris Capuano, who allowed one run in six innings while striking out seven on Friday in his final Cactus League start, will slide into Lilly's spot in the rotation, starting April 7 at Petco Park and then five days later at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Dodgers have an off day on April 9 that allows them to skip a fifth starter until April 14. Mattingly has said the Dodgers will definitely use the temporary extra roster spot on an eighth reliever, which will essentially be a choice between right-hander Josh Lindblom and non-roster invitee Scott Rice, a lefty.
Andre Ethier doubled and homered in his first two at-bats Friday, driving in four runs. In 50 plate appearances this spring, Ethier is hitting .400/.440/.933 with nine doubles, three triples, and three home runs.
Matt Guerrier pitched Friday in his first Cactus League game since March 11, and allowed a home run to Brooks Conrad, the first batter he faced. "I thought he looked sharp, he wasn't all over the place," Mattingly said. For the most part he stayed down, didn't look uncomfortable out there."
The plan is for Guerrier to pitch again on Sunday and Tuesday in preparation to be ready for opening day Thursday.
Todd Coffey had a rough ninth inning, allowing four (unearned) runs while recording two outs.
"He's getting the ball up, and obviously that's not good for him as a sinker ball guy," Mattingly said. "He's been up in the strike zone, and when those guys get up the ball is going to be flat. Usually the ball they try to get away runs back over the middle of the plate and gets hammered."
Ramon Troncoso cleared waivers and was outrighted to minor league camp on Friday.
The Dodgers lost 9-4 at home to Milwaukee:
Home Runs: Andre Ethier (3); Ryan Braun (2), Brooks Conrad (3), Carlos Gomez (1)
WP - Robert(1-0): 2 IP, 2 strikeouts
LP - Jamey Wright (0-1): 1 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs
In Mesa, the Dodgers beat the Cubs 6-3:
Home Runs: Ian Stewart (2)
WP - Scott Elbert (1-0): 3 up, 3 down
LP - Manny Corpas (0-1): 1 2/3 IP, 2 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk