MESA, Ariz. -- Chad Billingsley hit his 60-pitch limit during the fourth inning and came out of Sunday's game against the Cubs with the Dodgers trailing, but he considered it a positive outing in two respects.
"I was horrible warming up in the bullpen and I really struggled a little in the first inning," he said after the Dodgers' 5-3 loss. "But I was able to make the corrections, and the last couple innings were good. And I got Jeff Baker on a 3-2 changeup."
There were times in the past that Billingsley wouldn't have been able to do either. But he said experience has equipped him to overcome wobbles in the early innings, just as the developing changeup gives opposing hitters another pitch to be mindful of.
2010 Spring Training - null
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Ramon Troncoso pitched out of the jam that Billingsley left behind and went 1 1/3 innings, his third scoreless outing of the spring. Troncoso is looking like the workhorse sinker pitcher he was in 2008 and '09 and not the worn-out arm he became last year when Ronald Belisario and Hong-Chih Kuo couldn't open the season on time.
"To see a guy transfer it from the side [bullpen] to the game is really nice to see," said manager Don Mattingly. "Watching the other day, the catcher's glove hardly moved. He's been sharp. He was a sinker guy in the past and we didn't see it as much last year. Why, I don't know. Today he was down. With his role, he fits in the middle and he'll pitch multiple innings."
Troncoso said the difference this year is having played winter ball. He pitched in the offseason after 2007 and '08, but skipped it after '09.
"Going to a park and playing catch doesn't help pitchers," said Troncoso. "We get better facing hitters. We need game action."
Troncoso said he skipped winter ball after the 2009 season because he thought giving his arm a rest was "a good idea, but it wasn't."
The Dodgers have scheduled a "B" game for Tuesday against Seattle, with Hiroki Kuroda starting. In the big league game at Maryvale against the Brewers, John Ely and Rubby De La Rosa are scheduled to pitch. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt is starting Kuroda in the "B" game because his turn also falls on March 19, the day the Dodgers play Milwaukee in Glendale, and Honeycutt didn't want Kuroda facing the same club twice.