04/23/12 9:32 PM ET
Watchful Mattingly keeps Loney's swing in line
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
About the last thing Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wants is Loney doing anything that will change his batting swing, which is Loney's tendency.
For example, after going 3-for-11 during the three-game series in Milwaukee, Loney struck out in his first at-bat in Houston on Friday night and Mattingly immediately noticed a mechanical difference.
"I figured he must have taken a roll of quarters and gone to the local batting cage and somebody he knows there changed him," Mattingly said of Loney, who grew up in Houston. "I had [hitting coach Dave Hansen] pull up that at-bat and one from Milwaukee and told James to go look at them. When he came back and said, 'My bad,' that's when I knew he changed something."
Billingsley's rocky start not result of groin issue
LOS ANGELES -- Even though Chad Billingsley was roughed up Sunday after complaining of groin discomfort his previous start, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the groin was not the reason for Billingsley's bad outing.
"I'm pretty sure of that," Mattingly said. "I talked to Chad today and he felt like the biggest thing with him is that they wrapped it and I don't know if he wasn't comfortable with it, but he wasn't striding as far.
"Whatever the reason, he didn't pitch great, but from that standpoint, he's healthy and I'm not worried about his next start. He didn't come out of it limping or having something bother him. I think he put a lot of doubt to rest."
Billingsley is scheduled to start again Saturday at home against the Nationals.
GM Colletti: Ethier deal high on to-do list
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti on Monday repeated earlier comments indicating that a contract extension for outfielder Andre Ethier will be a high priority when new ownership takes over next week.
"You know, I've talked to them a little bit about it so it's on the map already," Colletti told SiriusXM Radio. "And when everything gets settled in and people get a chance to think about a lot of different things, that'll be one of the topics we do bring up. I'd love to keep him here. Of course, it takes more than the organization and more than me to get it done. It takes a lot of different people and factions that have a say in it, but hopefully he can be here for a long time.
"He's had a great start. Except for a little bit of a blip when he had a bad knee last year, he's been a very consistent player for us and somebody who does provide some protection for Matt [Kemp]. A couple of years ago it was the other way around in the order. But he's somebody that we count on and somebody that's been here really his whole Major League career. He started with Oakland, but he's been a Dodger ever since he showed up in the big leagues, and if we can keep it that way, it's fine with me."
Ethier is eligible for free agency after this season, and the free-agent market for run producers is expected to be light.
Coffey throws simulated game, nears return
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers reliever Todd Coffey, placed on the disabled list April 14 with a well-timed right knee inflammation, threw a simulated game Monday.
Coffey said the inflammation was the result of Spring Training running. Coincidentally, Coffey is known for his trademark sprint from the bullpen to the mound when he enters games.
Coffey said he expects to pitch in Minor League rehab games Wednesday and Friday, then be activated on Sunday, when the Dodgers will face the same roster dilemma they had on April 14, when they put Coffey on the disabled list to make room for the activation of Ted Lilly.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.