Chad Billingsley and Left hander Ted Lilly are both working their way back to the Dodger’s pitching staff. Both men are recovering from injuries, and using the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes as rehabilitation assignments to get them back on track for Major League action.
The rehab assignment didn’t go exactly as planned for Bills. He was supposed to be gearing up for his scheduled major league debut on April 10. Billingsley is recovering from a bruised index finger on his pitching hand, which resulted in him being placed on a retroactive disabled list to start the season.
Manager Don Mattingly had said Billingsley was supposed to be able to reach up to 100 pitches in preparation for next week’s season debut. Bills was unfortunately very wild in his rehab start for the Quakes on Thursday night in their opener against Lake Elsinore. Bills pitched only four frames allowing three earned runs and four runs total on seven hits, Bills walked three and whiffed two, while facing 22 batters. Billingsley appears to be fine, and the Dodgers want to make sure his fingernail doesn’t fall off when he pitches a curveball. Do the Dodgers have a manicurist on staff?
Another Dodger starting pitcher on a rehab assignment with the Quakes, lefty Ted Lilly, is due to start tonight, as he attempts to build up arm strength. Lilly who is coming off off-season shoulder surgery, has only pitched in nine innings this spring. The Dodger’s goal is to eventually get Lilly built up to about 100 pitches. Lilly’s pitch limit on Friday night will be about four frames. His last start in spring training, Lilly made about 58 pitches. The Dodgers want him to make several rehab starts in the minors so that he can build up his arm strength before returning to the big club. While Bills is getting ready to rejoin the Dodger rotation as the fifth starter, Lilly however has no official role with the club.
The Dodgers already have two other starters, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang in the bullpen, and it appears that’s where Lilly is headed. However Josh Beckett kind of sucked in his opening debut, and if he continues to suck, the Dodgers could swap them, and put Beckett in the bullpen, and Lilly in his rotation spot. That still seems unlikely to me, unless Beckett struggles or gets hurt. Beckett allowed five runs, four of them earned, and two home runs to the Giants in a six frame outing, in which the Dodgers lost last Wednesday night by a score of 5-3. The Dodger’s starting pitching surplus, is definitely a high quality problem to have.
The Quakes eventually won the game 5-4 over Lake Elsinore, as Billingsley was not involved in the decision. Scott Schebler hit a game winning two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth frame to give the Quakes their come from behind victory.
The Dodgers play San Diego next Wednesday night at Petco Park at 7:10 PM.