LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley took a large step forward in his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander threw 30 pitches over two innings in a simulated game at Dodger Stadium and is getting closer to beginning a minor league rehab assignment.
Billingsley faced Chone Figgins from the left side and Jamie Romak from the right side in two innings, throwing 15 pitches in each frame. Billingsley said he was able to throw all his pitches with no restrictions.
"My arm is feeling really good right now. I'm really happy with the way it responded," Billingsley said. "I'm not getting any throbbing or anything. It wasn't really fatigued after 30 pitches."
Manager Don Mattingly said it was too far off to decide right now whether Billingsley will be used as a starter or in relief, but the most likely course of action is to build him up like a starting pitcher then figure out where he is needed once ready.
"He seemed to feel a little rusty, but it's what you would expect," Mattingly said. "We'll see how he bounces back, then medical will decide if it's another sim game or a rehab start."
Billingsley said a simulated game is the most likely next step, perhaps on Tuesday.
"Mechanically what I'm doing now is guys during spring training would be doing," Billingsley said "As I start the rehab process, that's how I'm approaching it. My first start will be two innings, then I'll just go out there and throw strikes, mix in a few breaking balls, and just kind of get the body going and preparing for my first start of the season."
Mattingly on the potential return of catcher A.J. Ellis, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained ankle on Monday: "The feeling that I've gotten is that A.J. is going to be close to that two weeks."
Mattingly was less optimistic about third baseman Juan Uribe, placed on the DL on May 21: "It would be overly hopeful that he would be able to play two weeks after that hamstring injury."
Erisbel Arruebarrena took ground balls at third base on Thursday and has done so at second base, but Mattingly said he had no plans to start Arruebarrena at those positions. He just wanted him ready to play the positions if needed in an emergency.