Josh Beckett was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday with the flu. Several Dodgers have been afflicted with the bug (Ted Lilly, Zack Greinke, Peter Moylan, Ramon Castro, Adrian Gonzalez) and Beckett’s doesn’t seem to be too bad. He was scheduled to throw on a back field Monday morning.
(Update: Beckett indeed threw a simulated game on the back field and reportedly passed the test with flying colors.)
In his place, Josh Wall will start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers will likely use a combination of relievers, including some minor-leaguers, to fill out the innings behind Wall, who hasn’t pitched more than 1 ⅔ innings in a Cactus League game this spring.
Chad Billingsley is scheduled to start tomorrow, but that’s in jeopardy too. The right-hander is still being affected by a bruise on the index finger on his right (pitching) hand.
“The command’s just not there because it’s bruised and swelled up,” Billingsley said Monday.
He suffered the injury when he was hit by a baseball doing bunting drills Friday night. Billingsley doesn’t consider the injury serious and is “going day by day.”
Zack Greinke, who’s missed his last three starts due to stiffness in his right elbow, will throw 45 pitches in a “controlled setting” Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly said. That likely means he’ll pitch a simulated game or a minor-league game. The Dodgers are scheduled to play Greinke’s former team, the Kansas City Royals, in Surprise on Wednesday.
Greinke threw approximately 45 pitches in a bullpen session Sunday and “felt good this morning,” Mattingly said.
Ted Lilly will continue on a starter’s program, despite having another short outing Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lilly couldn’t make it out of the third inning while allowing five runs in his second spring outing. He’s only pitched 4 ⅔ innings this spring and appears to be running out of time to build to 120 pitches by Opening Day, which is 14 days away.
“It’s been hard to help him have any routine,” Mattingly said. “We’ve got to keep building him, trying to get him the innings wherever they’re at. We’ve got to help him get as best prepared as we can.”
The Dodgers still have eight starting pitchers in camp not including Stephen Fife, who is expected to begin the season at Triple-A Albuquerque. (Not to be overlooked, Mattingly recently singled out Fife as one of the players who’s made the most progress since this time one year ago.) If ever there were a time or an opportunity to convert one of their surplus starters to a reliever’s program, it would appear to be now with Lilly. The Dodgers are still hesitant to pull that trigger — with Lilly, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang or Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Finally, reliever Chris Withrow said he should be ready to pitch in “a couple of days” after he was struck by a line drive in his left calf Sunday in Arizona. He left the exhibition game against the Diamondbacks immediately and was diagnosed with a bruise. Monday, the leg was wrapped but he was walking normally.