10/05/09 9:35 PM EST
Billingsley throws in simulated game
Right-hander's playoff role for Dodgers still uncertain
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Billingsley was sent there to face farmhands from the instructional league and threw five innings, making 82 pitches. He last pitched a game for the Dodgers on Sept. 29, allowing two runs in six innings of a 3-1 loss in San Diego. He's winless since Aug. 18, a span of seven starts and one relief appearance after he was skipped a start to work out a mechanical flaw and regain his confidence.
Manager Joe Torre has announced only his first two starters -- left-handers Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw -- for the National League Division Series against St. Louis that starts Wednesday at 6:37 p.m. PT on TBS.
Billingsley, Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland are under consideration for the other two possible starting spots in the best-of-five series. Padilla made a strong bid to remain in the rotation when he allowed one run in five innings with 10 strikeouts in Sunday's regular-season finale against Colorado. Garland hasn't pitched since allowing five runs (four earned) in 3 1/3 innings in a loss at San Diego on Sept. 30 and was scheduled to throw a bullpen session in a closed workout at Dodger Stadium on Monday.
When the Dodgers played the Cubs in last year's Division Series, Torre never announced a fourth starter and never needed one, as the Dodgers swept the Cubs in three games.
Billingsley opened the season 5-0 with a 2.21 ERA, but is 7-11 since, with an overall mark of 12-11 and 4.03 ERA. The 12 wins lead the staff. The only lower staff-leading win total in Los Angeles Dodgers history was 11 by Tom Candiotti in 1992, when the Dodgers lost 99 games, the most losses for the franchise since 101 in 1908.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.