Billingsley closing in on return

Billingsley closing in on return

ANAHEIM -- Chad Billingsley threw about 25 pitches Thursday afternoon off the mound at Angel Stadium, his second-to-last tuneup before he's scheduled to come off the disabled list and start Monday in San Francisco.

Billingsley, out since June 12 with a strained right groin, also took pitcher's fielding practice, ensuring he could make the necessary defensive plays: quickly getting off the mound, fielding bunts to the left side of the infield and covering first base.

Billingsley is set to do more mound work on Saturday before the middle game of a three-game set with the Yankees at Dodger Stadium. Billingsley said he felt strong on Thursday as manager Joe Torre looked on, using all his pitches throwing to a stand-in batter.