Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley called it a case of “déjà vu.”
If all goes well in his simulated game Tuesday, Billingsley said he will start a minor-league rehabilitation game on Saturday. The right-hander threw a 30-pitch simulated game Thursday and a bullpen outing Saturday. He got through both sessions without pain, which left him optimistic about making his first rehab start since April 6 on schedule.
“We’ll see once we get past Tuesday,” he said.
The options for Billingsley: Triple-A Albuquerque has a road game in Tacoma, Washington; Double-A Chattanooga has a road game in Pearl, Mississippi; Single-A Rancho Cucamonga has a home game against Bakersfield. The Dodgers have a road game in Colorado.
Billingsley thinks he’ll need five rehab starts before he’s cleared to pitch a major-league game.
“I’m just anxious to get back out there,” he said. “Through this whole process, I’ve had patience. Keep working. It can be very frustrating at times. It’s all part of the process.”
Billingsley underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2013. Since then two more Dodgers pitchers — Ross Stripling and Chris Withrow have torn their ulnar collateral ligaments.
Billingsley said he spoke briefly with Withrow, who was recommended to have the ligament-replacement procedure last week and is seeking a second opinion.
“He’s a hard worker. He’ll be all right,” Billingsley said.
What did they talk about?
“Just ‘don’t get down. You’ve got a new arm in there.’ ”
Update (3 p.m.): Don Mattingly said in his pregame media scrum that Billingsley’s five-start declaration “is way ahead of me on that and I’m not sure if he’s way ahead of medical.”