MESA, Ariz. -- Chad Billingsley hit his 60-pitch limit during the fourth inning and came out of Sunday's game against the Cubs with the Dodgers trailing, but he considered it a positive outing in two respects.
"I was horrible warming up in the bullpen and I really struggled a little in the first inning," he said after the Dodgers' 5-3 loss. "But I was able to make the corrections, and the last couple innings were good. And I got Jeff Baker on a 3-2 changeup."
There were times in the past that Billingsley wouldn't have been able to do either. But he said experience has equipped him to overcome wobbles in the early innings, just as the developing changeup gives opposing hitters another pitch to be mindful of.
2010 Spring Training - Los Angeles Dodgers
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
"To see a guy transfer it from the side [bullpen] to the game is really nice to see," said manager Don Mattingly. "Watching the other day, the catcher's glove hardly moved. He's been sharp. He was a sinker guy in the past and we didn't see it as much last year. Why, I don't know. Today he was down. With his role, he fits in the middle and he'll pitch multiple innings."
Troncoso said the difference this year is having played winter ball. He pitched in the offseason after 2007 and '08, but skipped it after '09.
"Going to a park and playing catch doesn't help pitchers," said Troncoso. "We get better facing hitters. We need game action."
Troncoso said he skipped winter ball after the 2009 season because he thought giving his arm a rest was "a good idea, but it wasn't."
The Dodgers have scheduled a "B" game for Tuesday against Seattle, with Hiroki Kuroda starting. In the big league game at Maryvale against the Brewers, John Ely and Rubby De La Rosa are scheduled to pitch. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt is starting Kuroda in the "B" game because his turn also falls on March 19, the day the Dodgers play Milwaukee in Glendale, and Honeycutt didn't want Kuroda facing the same club twice.
Carroll needs a few days to let finger heal
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jamey Carroll was unable to throw comfortably Sunday after taking a pitch off his right index finger Saturday, but X-rays were negative.
Carroll was able to hit despite the swelling in the finger and will probably need a few more days before he can return to game action.
Carroll took a Jose Arredondo pitch near the base of the finger while trying to bunt against the Reds. He said doctors were more concerned with the tip of the finger, which he broke last season but never had X-rayed.
With Rafael Furcal scheduled for a day off and Carroll working out in Glendale, Justin Sellers started at shortstop for the Dodgers against the Cubs on Sunday and committed a pair of errors on the first ball hit to him, leading to an unearned run.
Marcus Thames, who doubled in a run Sunday but has not played the field in a week because of a sore heel, is expected to return to left field Monday against Colorado. Jay Gibbons, set back by missing four games with the flu, also is expected to return to left field by Tuesday.
Elbert to work on mechanics during BP
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Scott Elbert, the lefty reliever struggling with his control in games, was held back from a scheduled Sunday appearance and instead will throw batting practice Monday while working on a mechanical adjustment.
Joining Elbert on Monday will be relievers Jonathan Broxton and Matt Guerrier, who will pitch two innings each of a simulated game to strengthen their arms.
Joining starter Ted Lilly on the trip to Talking Stick to face the Rockies will be non-roster right-hander Tim Redding, who has been impressive in two starts, roster relievers Kenley Jansen and Blake Hawksworth and non-roster reliever Mike MacDougal, who impressed manager Don Mattingly in an outing last week.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.