Chad Billingsley is happy to work on -- and maybe even worry about -- pitches he knows he has to refine. He's able to proceed because of what has not been a concern at all.
He said his right elbow is fine.
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Billingsley threw 3 1-3 innings Thursday for the Los Angeles Dodgers in an 11-all tie with the Texas Rangers. He has pitched 7 1-3 innings this spring after rehabilitation for a partial tear in his elbow last August.
"I'm throwing all my pitches," said Billingsley, who retired nine straight batters before the Rangers got to him in the fourth for two hits that led to two runs. "No problem, no problems at all. I'm bouncing back. I think it's behind, but you never know."
Billingsley, competing for a spot in the rotation, chose last season to skip Tommy John surgery, which probably would have sidelined for the 2013 season. Instead, he had the elbow injected with plasma rich in platelets.
"Two injections," he said. "I'm absolutely happy that's what I did."
In his third start this spring, he looked strong through three scoreless innings. In the fourth, Texas got to him.
"That's spring training," he said. "With each game, you start to work on things and add pitches. For me, that meant incorporating my cutter."
The Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the ninth on a three-run homer by minor league outfielder Matt Angle. He hit a pitch from Josh Lindbloom into the Dodgers' bullpen.
Adrian Beltre hit his first homer this spring, a two-run shot in the fifth for Texas.
"I'm tracking the ball well," said Beltre, who is 3 for 10 this spring. "I'm not seeing the ball, not really. But that will happen with more at-bats."
Beltre was with the Dodgers from 1998 to 2004.
"I think I'm over that," he said. "But it's always nice to beat up on them a little bit."
NOTES: Dodgers LF Carl Crawford hit balls off a tee and remained hopeful he'll be ready for opening day despite nerve irritation in a surgically repaired left elbow that has limited him in drills and kept him out of spring training games. "There's still a chance I'll be ready," said Crawford, who dismissed talk that he probably won't play April 1 against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. He is scheduled to hit off a tee again Friday. He has yet to resume throwing. The Dodgers are trying to determine whether swinging or throwing caused the irritation. ... Reliever Javy Guerra was back in the Dodgers' clubhouse. He was declared ineligible for Mexico's team in the World Baseball Classic team because of a rule prohibiting participation by players coming off injury. Guerra had shoulder surgery in November. "Crazy," Guerra said. "I was 100 percent going in and I'm 100 percent coming back." ... The Rangers play Milwaukee on Friday at Maryvale. Michael Kirkman is Texas' scheduled starter.
Copyright AP - Associated Press