Chad Billingsley threw 4⅔ innings in a minor league game against Indians Triple-A hitters on Saturday afternoon and said he had no issues or pain in his bruised right finger. However, Billingsley still hasn't thrown a curve ball since suffering the finger injury on Mar. 15, as a precaution.
"In the past few days there haven't been any issues with any tenderness. The only issue is with my curve ball because I spike it with my fingertip, which pushes the nail back into the finger," Billingsley said. "I didn't throw anything yesterday, and didn't throw any (curves) today. I'm just let it have more time to rest or heal, without worrying about swelling or the nail falling off."
On Saturday Billingsley allowed two runs on four hits, with four walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 92 pitches, his most of the spring. He said he has been able to throw all of his other pitches without pain or discomfort to the finger, and specifically is pleased with his change up. He just hasn't been able to throw the curve ball yet.
Though Billingsley injured the finger during a bunting drill, he has been able to swing a bat every day since the injury, with no issues.
Billingsley said he would throw curve balls in his bullpen session on Monday, and hopefully will be able to throw curve balls in his next scheduled start, on Thursday. Billingsley will likely start the exhibition game against Rancho Cucamonga, technically a minor league game, giving the Dodgers options should they decide to open the season with Billingsley on the disabled list.
But Billingsley plans to be ready to start the second game of the season, on Apr. 2 against the Giants.
"As long as there are no setbacks, I plan to be ready," Billingsley said. "Right now I'm just getting my work in. It's a good thing I didn't have to miss any game time. I threw 92 pitches today, so I'm keeping the arm's endurance up. Whatever their decision is, that's their decision."
One of Billingsley or Hyun-jin Ryu, who starts Saturday night for the Dodgers against the White Sox, will start the second game of the regular season. The other one will essentially be the fifth starter, and might not be used as a starter until Apr. 13.
"We have some different options there that we'll continue to talk about, but not necessarily skipping all the way through," manager Don Mattingly said on Friday. "We have some off days and we can plug him into different spots. It depends on whomever that is. We left those goes together so we have options."