Chad Billingsley sounded like a man who was just happy to be on the field Monday.
At least, happy to be there and happy to be throwing strikes.
Billingsley didn't really have a bad thing to say about his first appearance of the spring, even though his stat line said otherwise.
The right-hander allowed five hits, two runs (both earned) and struck out one in two innings against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs' first four batters of the game hit a double, double, home run and single off Billingsley, putting the Dodgers in a 2-0 hole early in a 7-6 win.
More important for the 28-year-old, he was pitching in a game and his elbow felt fine.
"It was good to be out there," Billingsley said. "The first inning, I had a lot of adrenaline. It must have been forever since I last pitched in a game. It felt really good. Coming into today it was just throwing strikes, which I think I did pretty well."
Billingsley hadn't pitched since Aug. 24 of last year, when he was shelved by an injury to his right elbow.
In the intervening six months, Billingsley was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, tried resting, tried throwing, then tried to come into spring training to prove he wouldn't need season-ending Tommy John surgery. He's met every medical benchmark so far and Monday's outing, lousy as it looked on paper, was the most significant.
Even with struggles in opener, Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley happy to be back
L.A. Daily News | Feb 26