ANAHEIM -- Chad Billingsley threw about 25 pitches Thursday afternoon off the mound at Angel Stadium, his second-to-last tuneup before he's scheduled to come off the disabled list and start Monday in San Francisco.Billingsley, out since June 12 with a strained right groin, also took pitcher's fielding practice, ensuring he could make the necessary defensive plays: quickly getting off the mound, fielding bunts to the left side of the infield and covering first base. Billingsley is set to do more mound work on Saturday before the middle game of a three-game set with the Yankees at Dodger Stadium. Billingsley said he felt strong on Thursday as manager Joe Torre looked on, using all his pitches throwing to a stand-in batter.
Torre not concerned with Furcal's 'rust'
ANAHEIM -- Replays showed that one of Rafael Furcal's two errors on Wednesday night was a mistake by first-base umpire Tim Welke, who ruled Furcal's wide throw in the fifth inning pulled first baseman Loney's foot off the bag.The play contributed to the decisive run in the Angels' 2-1 victory at Angel Stadium, a sixth consecutive Dodgers loss. A clear Furcal fielding error in the fourth inning, on a play in which he would have had a clear shot to throw out Kevin Frandsen at home plate, led to the Angels' first run. Furcal was a little rusty, manager Joe Torre said, after missing five games because of the death of his father. Torre said he was not worried, though, that the pain Furcal is feeling off the field would mire his game. "I think it could've been a little rust, I don't think it was any question," Torre said. "The first one, he was trying to rush. Second one, he made a throw and the first baseman had his foot on the bag. I don't know how to try to improve on that. "With what he had to deal with, I've had to experience that with other players that I've had, in that regard. Sometimes being on the field gives them a chance to sort of distract themselves from the sadness. He'll be fine, he was ready to play yesterday." Furcal went 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Wednesday and was batting .298 with two home runs and 18 RBIs entering Thursday. He missed most of May because of a hamstring injury.
LA sends Schlichting back to Albuquerque
ANAHEIM -- The Dodgers cleared room to activate Charlie Haeger for Thursday night's start by optioning reliever Travis Schlichting to Triple-A Albuquerque.Schlichting pitched only one inning on Friday in this most recent eight-day call-up. He also had a four-day call-up earlier in the month. "He'll be back," manager Joe Torre said. The Dodgers also had some pitching news on the Minor League level. They promoted left-handed reliever James Adkins, a supplemental pick in 2007, and Jesus Castillo from Double-A Chattanooga to Albuquerque. Pitcher Aaron Miller, the club's supplemental pick in 2009, was promoted from Class A Inland Empire to Chattanooga. The club signed reliever Jesus Colome to pitch out of the bullpen at Albuquerque. Colome had been released after pitching 12 games with a 5.29 ERA for Seattle. Albuquerque starter James McDonald, out a month with a hamstring pull, has begun a rehab assignment in the Arizona Rookie League.
Torre 'fiddles' with lineup
ANAHEIM -- There were no benchings related to Wednesday night's ninth inning of frustration, but Blake DeWitt and Garret Anderson, who has been DHing, were both out of the Dodgers' lineup Thursday against Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir.Jamey Carroll, batting second in place of DeWitt, entered the contest 4-for-7 off Kazmir. Trying to jump-start a team that has lost six straight and all five games of the Freeway Series, manager Joe Torre moved Andre Ethier into the three-hole and Manny Ramirez into the cleanup spot. Ethier went 2-for-3 with a walk and scored the Dodgers' only run on Wednesday. "It's just trying to fiddle with it, that's all it is," Torre said. "If I gave you a good reason why [I'm moving up Ethier] today, then why didn't I do it yesterday? We're just trying to fiddle with it. It's our last day with the DH, we're going to try to make it as long and profitable as we can." Torre said he spoke briefly to players after two outs were made at second base in the top of the ninth inning in a 2-1 Dodgers loss, one by Matt Kemp on a pickoff and one by Russell Martin, who rounded the bag too much and was thrown out before Reed Johnson could reach home with the potential tying run. "We have players that are still learning to do this stuff. It's just a matter of having them fine-tune it," Torre said. "I don't think any of these young players especially -- not that these old guys are afraid of the field -- these young guys aren't afraid of the competition. Sometimes they have to reel themselves in, channel it."
Carroll was ready for Fuentes' move
ANAHEIM -- Jamey Carroll said he knew Brian Fuentes' pickoff move was coming in the ninth inning of the Dodgers' 2-1 loss Wednesday night. Fuentes' teammate with the Rockies in 2006 and '07, Carroll said the move works most of the time, but he has seen it called for a balk."More than often, it works," said Carroll, who was in the on-deck circle at the time Matt Kemp was caught for the second out. "Not too many guys have that ability. He picks his spots." The Dodgers had been alerted to Fuentes' strong pickoff move by scouting reports going into the series, manager Joe Torre said on Wednesday. What makes Fuentes deceptive, Carroll said, is he not only brings his lead leg up before pivoting, he starts to bring it back down -- but not toward the plate, which would be illegal.
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter and Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.