The Dodgers have set their pitching rotation for next week's Freeway Series against the Angels, though the starter for the Apr. 2 regular season game against the Giants hasn't been determined, and likely rests on the right index finger of Chad Billingsley.
Hyun-jin Ryu, who starts Saturday night against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch, will start in Anaheim on Thursday, Mar. 28 in the Freeway Series opener. Josh Beckett gets the call on Friday at Dodger Stadium, followed by Zack Greinke pitching Saturday in Anaheim.
In a minor league game on Saturday, Billingsley threw 92 pitches in 4⅔ innings, but is still unable to throw a curve ball because of a bruised right index finger. He will attempt to throw curves in his bullpen session on Monday, then in his next start on Mar. 28.
"He's going to need to have all his weapons. I'm comfortable from the standpoint that he continues to throw, his velocity's good, and he's able to pitch in games," manager Don Mattingly said. "In some ways, other than not being able to use your breaking ball, it makes you pitch a little bit more, using your change up and locating better because you don't have all of your weapons."
Billingsley's start on Mar. 28 will likely be in Rancho Cucamonga, where the Dodgers face the Quakes, their Class-A affiliate in an exhibition game. But the Dodgers are still awaiting clearance from MLB that the game would not count as a major league game before having Billingsley pitch. The Dodgers might want to place Billingsley on the disabled list to start the season, and can back date the start of that DL stint as far back as Mar. 22, provided he doesn't pitch in any major league games.
"We have decisions to make with Bills, along the lines of will he be able to use his curve ball by then, and does that game count as a major league game," Mattingly said.
Mattingly said that if the game in Rancho Cucamonga is classified as a major league game he will have Billingsley pitch Thursday in a simulated game of some sort to stay on turn. Mattingly said the decision on whether Ryu or Billingsley starts Apr. 2 won't come until after their respective Mar. 28 starts.
The Dodgers don't technically need a fifth starter until Apr. 13, but could use one as early as Apr. 7.
- Carl Crawford is expected to play three innings in left field on Saturday night, his first game in the field since Aug. 19.
- Juan Uribe was originally in Saturday's starting lineup, but was a late scratch with a tight right hamstring. Alfredo Amezaga started in his place.
- Saturday's lineup is essentially the opening day lineup, and one Mattingly said he would use for the next four days. The Dodgers have three night games during that span. Mattingly did say he would rotate some players in at third base over the next few days as well.
- Hanley Ramirez left the Dodgers complex on Saturday with a cast on his right hand, headed home to Miami, and will rejoin the team in Los Angeles. Mattingly said at some point soon Ramirez will be able to do some footwork exercises to stay active.
"We feel like he's going to be able to do some stuff. He can continue to do some things we like without being able to throw or hit," Mattingly said. "We'll be able to do some things with Hanley to keep him sharp."
- With the split squad games on Mar. 28, Mattingly said it was likely that Yasiel Puig would make the trip to southern California, but wouldn't commit to Puig playing any games past Thursday. "We haven't gotten that far," Mattingly said.
- Essentially there could be several roster cuts made after Thursday's split squad games. There are currently 39 players in big league camp.
Time: 7:05 p.m. PT
Radio: KTNQ (Spanish); MLB.com (White Sox broadcast)