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Chad Billingsley in the bullpen

Slumping starter trying to work things out after being skipped in the rotation against the Giants.

September 19, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

Not scheduled to make his next start until Wednesday in Washington, Chad Billingsley was sent to the Dodgers' bullpen again Friday.

Billingsley pitched 1 2/3 innings, giving up two runs, including a solo home run to San Francisco's Aaron Rowand.

The loser of four consecutive decisions, Billingsley was scratched from his start against the Giants.

Billingsley said he would try to make the best of the situation, which he admitted wasn't ideal.

"I don't want to be there," Billingsley said. "I want to be a starting pitcher. It'll just be a couple times so I can keep working on things and figure something out.

"I'm starting on Wednesday. I'm not going to go there and mope and cry about it. I'm going to do the best I can whenever I step out there on the mound."

The All-Star right-hander, who has a 5.63 earned-run average over his last dozen starts, said he wasn't upset about his temporary move to the bullpen.

"Is it permanent?" he asked. "Then why are you asking?"

And he said that being asked to pitch in relief was far less frustrating than being out because of a strained hamstring, which was the situation he faced last month.

"I'm getting work in," he said. "I'm getting on the mound."

Asked if he has identified the source of his problems, Billingsley shrugged his shoulders.

"I don't know," he said. "You have to get out there. You have to figure it out there on the mound. You can do all the work and still have to go out and do it on the mound."

Billingsley maintained that he wasn't hiding an injury.

"If I weren't fine, I wouldn't be out there," he said. "Do you think the medical staff would let me go out there?"

Kershaw closer to return

Upon completing a three-inning, 45-pitch simulated game, Clayton Kershaw raised his pitching arm and smiled.

"Left arm feels great," he said.

Of course, the problematic shoulder was the right one, which he dislocated two weeks ago in a collision with the outfield wall while shagging balls.

Manager Joe Torre said Kershaw would throw a bullpen session Monday and pitch an inning of relief during the Dodgers' three-game series in Washington, which starts Tuesday.

Torre said he would wait to push Kershaw back into the rotation because he was unsure of how capable the 21-year-old was of fielding a ball or swinging a bat.

Blake DeWitt, one of the three hitters to face Kershaw in the simulated game, said Kershaw "looked like Kershaw."

"Everything looked normal," DeWitt said.

Belliard likes limelight

Ronnie Belliard started the season in last-place Washington, but said the pressures of being in a pennant race are nothing new to him.

Why? Playing every winter in the Dominican Republic has made this made this feel almost routine.

"You want to be able to handle pressure, you play in the Dominican league," he said. "It's pretty intense. The fans, they know their baseball. When you do something wrong, they let you know. They pay attention to the game."

Belliard's team, Licey, won the Dominican league and advanced to the Caribbean World Series.

Belliard was batting .319 with three home runs and eight runs batted in in 13 games with the Dodgers through Wednesday. He has started 12 games.

Skate for autism

Orlando Hudson will host a fund-raiser Sunday to benefit his autism foundation. The event will be held at Skateland in Northridge from 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets cost $25 for general admission and $50 for VIP access. More information: (404) 872-9899.


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