Billingsley looks sharp in first action
Dodgers righty puts in two solid innings against Mariners
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's been three months in the making, but Chad Billingsley's right arm has finally replaced his left leg as the most talked about limb on his body.Last November, the right-handed pitcher slipped in an icy porch at home in Pennsylvania and broke a bone in his leg. He now has a plate and screws in his left ankle.
On Friday against the Mariners at Peoria Stadium, in his first game appearance of the spring, Billingsley retired the first two hitters he faced before giving up a single to Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan. Billingsley then retired third baseman Adrian Beltre for the third out of the inning.In the second inning, Mariners third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo hit a one-out double and Franklin Gutierrez drove him home with a single to center field. Prentice Redman and Rob Johnson each flied out to center field to end the inning and Billingsley's afternoon. "I felt good out there and I accomplished what I wanted to do," Billingsley said. "Now, it's a matter of building on that and preparing for the first start of the year." Overall, Billingsley was charged with one run on three hits in two innings. Veteran Shawn Estes relieved him to start the third and gave up seven runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings in the 18-2 loss. Relievers Travis Chick (one inning pitched), Greg Miller (one-third of an inning) and Justin Orendruff (two-thirds of an inning) were charged with three runs each. Brad Halsey gave up one run on two hits in one inning. "It's one of those Spring Training games. That's why you are here and that's why you have thirty-something pitchers and you wind up with 11 or 12," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "You don't cross anybody out after one outing, but unfortunately when you make a decision, you don't have a whole lot of information, so you have to make the decision on what little you may know about somebody." As for Billingsley, he said his leg felt fine. "It feels like normal out there and I'm doing everything as normal," he said. "You never want to get hurt any time throughout the year, but accidents happened, and I have had enough time to recover." His club sure hopes so. Last season, Billingsley paced Dodgers pitchers with 16-10 record and a 3.14 ERA. He went 7-1 over the last 12 of his 32 starts but struggled in the playoffs, losing both games he started against the Phillies during the National League Championship Series. Billingsley has said his postseason performance last season is in the past. Questions about his now healed broken leg might also disappear. "I thought he threw the ball good," Torre said. "It looked like it was easy for him. I'm sure he came out of it fine."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.