PHOENIX – Chad Billingsley threw seven curveballs in his bullpen session Monday, making him increasingly optimistic that he will be able to make his first scheduled start of the regular season for the Dodgers on April 2.
Billingsley refrained from throwing any curveballs in a minor league game last week because of a bruised index finger.
“I was happy with them,” Billingsley said of the quality of his curveballs.
Manager Don Mattingly said earlier Monday that he would skip Billingsley’s first turn in the rotation if the right-hander couldn’t throw all of his pitches.
But Billingsley conceded his fingernail could still fall off.
If the nail falls off and Billingsley can’t pitch, the Dodgers would turn to Hyun-Jin Ryu to replace him April 2. Ryu is on the same throwing program as Billingsley.
Ryu will pitch against the Angels in Anaheim on Thursday. The Dodgers wanted Billingsley to pitch against their Class-A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga that day. But the Dodgers were informed by the league office that if Billingsley pitches in that game, they wouldn’t be able to put him on the disabled list retroactively to March 22.