ST. LOUIS -- Chad Billingsley's win Monday night supported the theory that missing an occasional start can be a good thing.
"It wasn't a negative," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said of Billingsley's first start in three weeks, which snapped his five-game losing streak. "If anything, it was a positive to build off. He prides himself on taking the ball, and you've got to respect that. But nobody is 100 percent, and maybe the time off did his arm some good."
Billingsley, who skipped a start after experiencing elbow inflammation, went six innings and allowed one run on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in the Dodgers' 5-3 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Honeycutt praised the right-hander's ability to throw a two-seam fastball to left-handed hitters.
"That's a ball he's been working on," Honeycutt said. "It's a key for him. If anything, the fastball last night wasn't his best; maybe that was a bit of rust. But he was sharp with breaking balls and had a great changeup.
"We have seen total domination for four or five innings, and then maybe it's the inflammation and they get to him, but not last night. I'm very happy for him and the club. Last night was a very positive sign and I hope it gets him off to a nice roll."
Kennedy likely headed to DL with groin injury
ST. LOUIS -- The Dodgers' third-base situation became muddled even further Tuesday night, when infielder Adam Kennedy aggravated a lingering right groin injury while pinch-hitting. He expects to be placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday.
Elian Herrera and Alex Castellanos are the two most likely Triple-A Albuquerque infielders in line to replace the veteran Kennedy, who aggravated the injury on a checked swing, singled on the next pitch, finished out the inning on the bases and then came out of the Dodgers' 8-2 loss to the Cardinals.
"It's been like this awhile and it's not getting any better," Kennedy said after a postgame meeting with manager Don Mattingly.
"I tweaked it yesterday and it's worse today. I first did it at the end of Spring Training and missed about a week and a half. It got better but never really went away. I've been playing a lot lately and it's not good. This kind of stinks."
The left-handed-hitting Kennedy has seen increased playing time lately at third base in a platoon with struggling starter Juan Uribe. After a very slow start, Kennedy is hitting .342 in 15 July games.
Lilly tests shoulder, throws three simulated innings
ST. LOUIS -- While the Dodgers wait for a resolution in their pursuit of Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, his buddy Ted Lilly made progress Tuesday toward his return to the starting rotation.
Lilly, on the disabled list since May 28 with left shoulder inflammation, threw three simulated innings in the bullpen, 20 pitches per inning and a rest in between to simulate the normal up and down of game conditions.
"I really let it go, so we'll see how it is tomorrow," Lilly said.
Manager Don Mattingly said if Lilly comes out of the session with no discomfort, he would likely follow with another bullpen session, then a simulated game against hitters or a Minor League rehab assignment.
"We're still at a point where we have to see how he is tomorrow; that determines what's next," Mattingly said. "Either he gets toward a sim game or with a bullpen in between, moving forward. But we don't start the clock [on a rehab assignment] until he's ready to start it."
Right behind Lilly is reliever Matt Guerrier, who threw half-speed off a mound Monday and has his first bullpen session planned for Wednesday.
"This is a real test," said Guerrier, who has been on the DL since April 19 with right elbow tendinitis. "I think the six weeks of rest has helped. Now I have to throw and not think about it. But it feels a lot better."
Gordon stays active with unique rehab routine
ST. LOUIS -- Under the category of unusual rehab techniques, consider Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon and his egg catch.
Until Aug. 2, Gordon will wear that unmistakable neon lime green cast on his right arm. The cast comes off then and he will regain movement of his wrist and arm, which have been immobilized to allow healing of a torn right thumb ligament.
With a cast on his throwing hand, Gordon can't throw a ball or swing a bat, but that doesn't mean he can't work on his game, and that's where the egg catch comes in.
Three times a week, Gordon has a coach play soft toss to him with a real egg.
"If my hands are soft, the egg won't break," said Gordon, who catches the egg with his bare left hand. "This helps me work on having soft hands."
Gordon also has been taking ground balls during infield practice, carefully keeping the cast out of the path. And he hits off a tee one-handed. He was injured July 4 on a headfirst steal of third base.
"His hand strength will be the biggest issue when the cast comes off," manager Don Mattingly said of Gordon, a left-handed hitter. "That's the bottom hand [batting]. We've talked to him about taking advantage of the down time, pay attention to game situations while he can. He's been asking questions. I think he has taken advantage of it."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.