Chad Billingsley to begin rehab assignment Sunday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga

Craig Minami | True Blue LA

After two simulated games and a bullpen session, the Dodgers right-hander will begin facing minor league hitters on Sunday in the Cal League.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA -- Nine weeks after he originally started his minor league rehab assignment, Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley is healthy and ready to start again. The right-hander will pitch for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday, per various Dodgers beat writers in Denver.

Rancho Cucamonga is home in Sunday for a 2:05 p.m. PT game against the Bakersfield Blaze, a Reds affiliate.

Billingsley is expected to throw 30 pitches on Sunday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. This fits with the rehab plan Billingsley laid out on May 29, after the first of his two simulated games.

"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," Billingsley said. "My approach now is how I would be during spring training."

The right-hander had Tommy John surgery in April 2013. His recovery went smoothly until cutting short his first rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga on April 6, saying "Something didn't feel right" in his elbow. That turned out to be tendonitis, which shut him down for roughly 3½ weeks.

Billingsley received a platelet-rich plasma injection in May then built up his arm through a deliberate throwing program over a few weeks. He threw simulated games on May 29 and last Tuesday, then a bullpen session in preparation for his Sunday start in Rancho Cucamonga.

Minor league rehab assignments can last up to 30 days per the collective bargaining agreement, though with setbacks they can also be restarted. If all goes well for Billingsley, he will likely need five rehab starts before he is ready to rejoin the Dodgers, which looks like it could be as soon as early July.

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