Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had made one previous trip to a California League game at the newly renamed LoanMart Field. That was a few years ago when his son Preston was playing for the Inland Empire 66ers and the Dodgers had an off day.

Mattingly and other Dodgers personnel were on hand for opening night Thursday as the Quakes faced Lake Elsinore.

But his appearance this time was all business.

Right-hander Chad Billingsley, expected to be a key figure in the parent club's rotation, was making what was expected to be his only rehabilitation start.

The 28-year-old was hit on the hand while working on a bunting drill in spring training and developed a blood blister under the nail that made it difficult to throw his curveball. He threw the pitch in a minor-league game a week ago but that was the first time he had thrown it in nearly two weeks.

Mattingly, who arrived just before the Quakes took the field for batting practice, said before the game the pitcher would throw anywhere from 75-90 pitches.

Also on hand were Charlie Hough, who regularly tours the Dodgers' minor-league affiliates to work with the pitchers, vice president of player personnel Vance Lovelace and members of the team's medical staff.

"I threw curveballs, that was the main thing I was here for, and they were sharp," Billingsley said. "I felt nothing so that was good. The last outing I was throwing 50-foot curves. Today there was definitely a better feel for it.