3/6/2014 8:19 P.M. ET
Recovering Billingsley feels good in latest BP session
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chad Billingsley finished off a bullpen session on Wednesday with two pitches in clear violation of the trainer-imposed 85-mph speed limit.
Billingsley wouldn't confirm a camp whisper number of 91 mph, but he smiled when asked how he came out of it.
"My arm feels better than it did a week ago when I started throwing breaking balls," said Billingsley. "I think throwing harder has helped me get extension and loosened up the flexor muscles."
Billingsley had Tommy John surgery last year on April 25, and he appears to be on track for a May return. He expects to throw several more bullpen sessions before graduating to face live hitters, then game action.
In other Tommy John surgery news, prospect Ross Stripling returned to camp after having an arthroscopic procedure on his right elbow in preparation for Tommy John reconstruction, which will take place after the swelling subsides, probably in two weeks.
Haren working on all cylinders in latest outing
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Dodgers starter Dan Haren stretched out Thursday with four scoreless innings against his former Angels teammates and he's readying for a trip to Australia, even if it turns out to be more a vacation than work.
Haren said he isn't sure what his role will be when the club opens the season against Arizona Down Under, but somebody will be the on-call starter-in-waiting and it's likely to be Haren. The way the Dodgers' rotation lines up, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu are the likely two starters.
Nonetheless, Haren had the most impressive start of the spring for the Dodgers, mixing in curveballs for the first time, cutters to both sides of the plate and slowing down into his best rhythm so far.
"My innings are right where they need to be," he said. "I've still got to get my arm speed built up. A lot of times in spring you get that dead arm, sometimes you feel better in starts than other times. I usually feel better at the end of spring."
The game also provided some reassurance for Scott Van Slyke, whose grand slam off Dane De La Rosa was his first extra-base hit and first RBIs of the Spring.
Van Slyke came to camp with a bench job to lose, providing right-handed power with the capability to play the outfield and first base. Although Van Slyke's bat started off cool, Mattingly indicated nothing has changed for him.
"Spring is tough to judge and he didn't play winter ball," Mattingly said of Van Slyke. "His at-bats have been OK. He still has the combination of a righty that can play all three outfield spots and first base. He's hit some balls on the nose. I don't really worry about Scott."
Also in the game, Chris Anderson, last year's first-round pick, was charged with two runs while allowing one hit and two walks in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Hanley hit by pitch, exits as precautionary measure
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch on his left tricep and was removed from Thursday's game against the Angels as a precautionary measure.
Ramirez, who was rendered useless in the NL Championship Series when a Joe Kelly fastball fractured two ribs, was hit by Dane De La Rosa.
Ramirez stayed in the game to run and then came out to ice.
Ramirez said he expected to be able to play Friday.
Replay confirms that Dodgers threw out Trout
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers were involved in their first replay review of the exhibition season Thursday against the Angels.
In the bottom of the first inning, Angels outfielder Mike Trout hit a sinking liner that Dodgers centerfielder Yasiel Puig missed with a diving attempt.
"Just not the right play," Mattingly said of Puig's dive.
The ball bounced to the fence and Puig hustled after it, hitting cutoff man Hanley Ramirez with the throw. The shortstop relayed to catcher A.J. Ellis, who took the throw in the right-handed hitter's batter's box and reached down to tag Trout.
Third-base umpire Patrick Hoberg rotated to make the out call at the plate. Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out to argue. After a huddle of umpires, the call was reviewed and upheld, with Trout ruled out.
"That was an umpire challenge because he questioned [Rule] 7.13, which is blocking the plate," said crew chief Gerry Davis. "The first thing we look at when there's an umpire challenge is whether he's blocking the plate or not, or if the runner deviates from his path trying to score. But once we go for that reason, we can review the whole play."
Ellis said he did not impede Trout's path to the plate.
"I was playing the baseball," he said. "I have to play the baseball. What am I supposed to do, let it go? You can't camp out on the plate without the ball. I gave the runner a lane to score."
Scioscia said he challenged the call on the tag and a perceived blocking of the plate. "The whole play," he said. "The catcher can't be in the path of the runner until he has the ball, and I think he was. And then also if the tag was on time or not. So there were two parts to look at." Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was still a little hazy on what took place.
"It's interesting. Everybody's got a different take," he said. "Mike went one way, the umpires came back a little bit different. On [Sunday], the umpires will come to our place and we'll talk about it more. It's going to be a bit crazy.
"At first it seemed like a challenge on the tag, but they went to look at the whole thing. We understand they can look at the whole play. It ended up it didn't count as a challenge. The plays at the plate will be tough ones."
Lee to start Friday, likely setting Australia rotation
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers have set up Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu to start the two season-opening games in Australia by inserting prospect Zach Lee to start Friday against Texas.
It will be Lee's first start of the Spring after being slowed by a strained lat muscle.
Manager Don Mattingly won't confirm any of his plans, but he has told the pitchers their roles.
To further play out the likely strategy, Dan Haren is likely to make the trip as the emergency fill-in if something happened to either Kershaw or Ryu. That would mean Haren could go longer than a week without pitching in a game.
Zack Greinke probably won't travel because of his calf injury and Josh Beckett has been on a slower timetable coming off rib surgery.
The Dodgers, allowed to take only 30 players on the trip, also will need a starter to eat innings in the exhibition game against Team Australia two days before the opener. Matt Magill, stretched out to three innings of relief Wednesday night, seems a likely candidate for that start.
Greinke throws 25-pitch bullpen session
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Thursday as he recovers from a mild right calf strain.
Manager Don Mattingly said Greinke might next throw to hitters, which would put him on track for an exhibition game start next week.
Greinke is not expected to make the Dodgers' season-opening trip to Australia.
Greinke, who was injured four pitches into his first start a week ago, made his first 20 throws Thursday out of the stretch and the last five from a windup. He threw fastballs and breaking balls.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.