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Chad Billingsley leaves rehab start early: 'Something didn't feel right'

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Chad Billingsley made his first start of his rehab assignment at Rancho Cucamonga

Craig Minami

RANCHO CUAMONGA -- Chad Billingsley left his first minor league rehabilitation start earlier than planned on Sunday, after feeling a sensation in his surgically-repaired right elbow.

"It didn't sound good, but it sounds like the tests when [team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache] looked at him it looked pretty good," manager Don Mattingly said after the game. "They felt pretty good about it. It gave us a little scare too, but we got the good news during the game."

Billingsley was scheduled to throw two innings for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday but left three batters into the second inning. After Billingsley retired the side in order on eight pitches in the first inning, San Jose catcher Ben Turner singled through the middle with one out in the second, a ball Billingsley veered to avoid.

A trainer came to the mound to consult Billingsley, who left the game after throwing 18 pitches in 1⅓ innings.

"It wasn't planned, just something didn't feel right, so instead of pitching through it and maybe hurting something," Billingsley said. "Right now my arm feels pretty good and I was really happy with the way I threw, was happy to be out there."

Billingsley wouldn't specify what exactly didn't feel right, but was reevaluated at Dodger Stadium later Sunday.

He sounded like someone planning to make his next scheduled rehab start, which could be with Triple-A Albuquerque next weekend if he sticks with his schedule.

"This is my spring training, to try to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters, mix some curve balls and change up," Billingsley said. "As I progress I will mix in a lot more offspeed and prepare myself for my start of the season."

But later Sunday night, Mattingly said Billingsley likely wouldn't make a start by next weekend.

"I think we would be cautious with him, just to make sure everything is good," Mattingly said. "This is part of the process of getting where he's got to go."