Billingsley to start Saturday on short rest

Billingsley to start Saturday on short rest

SAN DIEGO -- A lobbying campaign by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and pitcher Chad Billingsley convinced Dodgers manager Joe Torre to name Billingsley his starter on short rest for Saturday against the Giants.

Billingsley, who turned 26 on Thursday, will be starting on three days' rest for the first time in his career. He is coming off six scoreless innings Tuesday night in San Diego, when he threw 84 pitches on five days' rest. In his previous outing, he threw a shutout against the Mets, making 125 pitches. He's 9-5 with a 4.00 ERA.

"There's always a little concern because we don't do it much," Honeycutt said of the quick return. "I think we only did it with Derek Lowe before. You never really know. But the way he's throwing and his last outing, we're using his judgment."

Honeycutt said when he brought up the possibility, Billingsley didn't even let him finish the sentence.

"I started the explanation and he said, 'I'm OK for Saturday if you want me to do it,'" Honeycutt said. "He feels good."

It is Clayton Kershaw's five-game suspension that put Torre in this jam. Kershaw, who last pitched Sunday, was suspended five games for intentionally hitting Giants outfielder Aaron Rowand with a pitch last week.

"This keeps us from having to make a [roster] move," said Torre, who a day earlier said he was leaning toward starting Triple-A Albuquerque's John Ely.

Torre said, "I still think there's a chance to make another move" and acquire a pitcher by Saturday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but chances that would happen, and the pitcher would be able to start Saturday, are long.

Torre said he was OK with Billingsley coming back on short rest as long as Honeycutt was.

"I rely on my pitching coach," he said. "He was a pitcher and he knows what the body feels like. He said he just felt Chad was feeling good enough."