Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley faces the Chicago Cubs in an… (Rob Tringali / Getty Images )
PHOENIX – Of the 92 pitches Chad Billingsley threw in a minor league game Saturday, none were curveballs. But Billingsley said his bruised index finger is feeling better and that he expects to make his first scheduled start of the regular season.
“As long as there are no setbacks, I plan to be ready,” Billingsley said.
Billingsley is lined up to pitch the Dodgers’ second game of the regular season, on April 2 against the San Francisco Giants. If he can’t pitch that day, the starting assignment is expected to go to South Korean rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is on the same throwing schedule as Billingsley.
Ryu is scheduled to face the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night.
Billingsley refrained from throwing his curveball out of fear that the nail on his index finger could fall off.
“The only issue is with my curveball because I spike it with my fingertip,” Billingsley said. “That’s like pushing the nail back in.”
Billingsley said he didn’t have any problems throwing his other pitches. Facing minor leaguers from the Cleveland Indians, he gave up two runs and four hits. He struck out seven and walked four.
Billingsley plans to resume throwing his curveball in his next bullpen session. He will pitch in one more exhibition game, on Thursday.
“I haven’t thrown it in over a week,” Billingsley said of his curveball. “It will take a little bit of time to get the feeling back, but I don’t think it will take too long. Maybe a day or so.”
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